Chase Elliott shocked the world for the second week straight after 18 year old won the Nationwide race at the track proclaimed "too tough to tame."
After scoring his first-career NASCAR Nationwide Series win a week earlier at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth, Chase Elliott made it two in a row by winning the VFW Great Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Friday. It was a second win in only seven-career Nationwide starts for the 18-year-old driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
"Just blessed to be here; this is unreal," Elliott said. "I couldn't believe last week, much less here at Darlington." Elliott was followed across the start/finish line by a three-car Joe Gibbs Racing brigade, with the No. 11 JGR Toyota of Elliott Sadler finishing second, the No. 20 of Matt Kenseth in third, and the No. 54 of Kyle Busch in fourth. The No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.
Sadler got the lead by taking only two tires during the seventh and final caution of the race that came out with seven laps to go in the 147-lap event. The No. 42 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet of Kyle Larson also took two to restart second. Elliott was running second to Busch prior to the caution, but a slow pit stop resulted in Elliott restarting the race for the final two laps in the sixth position.
When the race restarted for the final time, Kenseth quickly moved from fourth to second, and then Elliott moved up quickly to take second from Kenseth as Larson dropped back, eventually finishing sixth. Sadler was able to maintain the lead, despite taking on only two tires until Elliott was able to get him loose and get by him on the final lap.
"That was crazy," Elliott said of the final two green-flag laps. "That had to have been fun to watch. It was fun to be a part of." Busch led a race-high 84 laps, while Elliott led most of the others for a total of 52 laps led. Busch started on the pole and led all but two of the first 33 laps, losing the lead temporarily when the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick took the top spot on a restart on lap 24. Busch retook the lead two laps later.
Elliott got to the front for the first time when he passed Busch for the lead on lap 34. From there, Elliott dominated until he lost positions on pit road during a lap 88 caution. Busch got off pit road first to retake the lead, while Elliott restarted fifth. Elliott then moved his way up to battle Larson for the second spot for several laps before taking the position with 39 laps to go. Busch and Elliott then ran first and second until the final yellow flag of the race.
Harvick finished seventh, the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Regan Smith was eighth, the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Trevor Bayne ninth, and the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon 10th.