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Looking Like A Million: Chase Elliott Is NNS Champ

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 8 2014

New Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott celebrates with his father Bill Elliott in Arizona. (RacinToday/HHP photo)

Brad Keselowski passed Kyle Busch on the final lap after a green/white/checkered restart and went on to win Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Speedway while Chase Elliott collected enough points to clinch the series title.

Elliott finished fifth and became the first rookie to win an NNS championship and also, at 18 years old, the youngest driver to win a championship in any of NASCAR’s three major series. Elliott, the son of former Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, gave Dale Earnhardt Jr. his first championship as a team owner.

“I never would have even believed this was in my future,” Elliott said. “At the beginning of this season I had only run a couple of truck races. I feel lot of this is just due to the group of guys I was able to work with. Those guys were bringing me super-fast cars every week.”

Elliott won three races in 2014 and finished ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, who entered the race 48 points behind Elliott in the series standings and ran 10th.

“I wasn’t sure if it was OK to do a burnout lap or not,” he said. “But I did one anyway because I was too excited not to.”

The NNS season concludes next Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch started from the pole and dominated on Saturday, leading 187 laps. He had the lead and appeared headed to an easy win when Alex Bowman slowed on the track with two laps to go to bring out a caution.

In Turn 1 on the final lap, Keselowski blew past Busch and went on to the victory.

“Everything was fine just my car wouldn’t quite turn as good on the restarts as it needed to. We were a little bit better after we got a couple laps going. Brad (Keselowski) got his car to bend in the middle of (turns) three and four and got under me and got by me.

“Just wouldn’t take off on restarts very well. It’s pretty pathetic NASCAR throws these Kyle Busch cautions –it’s really getting old and aggravating for us in this Nationwide Series. It’s their prerogative, it’s their series and they get to do what they want to and I just have to settle for second and miss our opportunity on another owner’s championship this year.”

Keselowski, who made headlines after contact with Jeff Gordon last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and then said he would do about anything to win, empathized with Busch after his victory on Saturday.

“It was kind of a shame. He had the race won today,” Keselowski said, “but the yellow came out. I could understand if he was upset about that, but we didn’t give up. Kyle was really fast and probably had a tenth or two on everybody and then that yellow came out and I don’t know what happened. It’s like we grabbed a gear or he slowed down, I don’t know which one happened but either way we were able to get to victory lane with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang and another win with this group.”

Bill Elliott, the 1988 Sprint Cup champion, and Chase Elliott, the 2014 Nationwide Series champion, become the fifth father/son duo to win NASCAR national series championships.

They join a list that includes Lee Petty (Sprint Cup in 1954, 1958 and 1959) and Richard Petty (Sprint Cup in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979), Ned Jarrett (Sprint Cup in 1961 and 1965) and Dale Jarrett (Sprint Cup in 1999), David Pearson (Sprint Cup in 1966, 1968 and 1969) and Larry Pearson (Nationwide in 1986 and 1987), and Dale Earnhardt Sr. (Sprint Cup in 1980, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Nationwide in 1998 and 1999).

(This story will be updated shortly)

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race

Phoenix International Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, November 08, 2014

1. (2) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 206, $56575.

2. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 206, $49725.

3. (4) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 206, $38625.

4. (7) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 206, $34950.

5. (10) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 206, $31175.

6. (3) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 206, $29175.

7. (9) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 206, $26925.

8. (8) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 206, $25850.

9. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 206, $27585.

10. (6) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 206, $27325.

11. (24) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 206, $24925.

12. (13) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 206, $24775.

13. (11) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 206, $18600.

14. (16) James Buescher, Toyota, 206, $24490.

15. (14) Dylan Kwasniewski #, Chevrolet, 206, $25005.

16. (20) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 206, $24245.

17. (5) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 205, $24535.

18. (26) Blake Koch, Toyota, 204, $23875.

19. (15) Ryan Reed #, Ford, 204, $23965.

20. (21) Ryan Sieg #, Chevrolet, 204, $24355.

21. (25) Dakoda Armstrong #, Ford, 204, $23545.

22. (23) Kelly Admiraal, Toyota, 204, $17430.

23. (17) John Wes Townley(i), Toyota, 203, $17295.

24. (28) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, 203, $23185.

25. (36) Chad Boat #, Chevrolet, 202, $17625.

26. (35) Eric McClure, Toyota, 202, $23090.

27. (27) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 200, $23055.

28. (32) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 200, $22985.

29. (39) Mackena Bell, Chevrolet, 198, $22910.

30. (33) JJ Yeley, Dodge, Rear Gear, 154, $23175.

31. (40) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, Brakes, 117, $22820.

32. (18) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Accident, 81, $22785.

33. (30) Tanner Berryhill #, Toyota, Brakes, 58, $22745.

34. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 51, $16709.

35. (34) Mike Wallace, Dodge, Suspension, 41, $16663.

36. (19) Brennan Newberry(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 34, $15195.

37. (37) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Brakes, 20, $15150.

38. (31) TJ Bell(i), Dodge, Vibration, 14, $21115.

39. (38) Carl Long, Ford, Brakes, 10, $20865.

40. (22) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Engine, 0, $20830.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 102.573 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 00 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.141 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 33 laps.

Lead Changes: 6 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch(i) 1-84; J. Clements 85; R. Smith 86-94; K. Busch(i) 95-167; B. Keselowski(i) 168-175; K. Busch(i) 176-205; B. Keselowski(i) 206;.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch(i) 3 times for 187 laps; R. Smith 1 time for 9 laps; B. Keselowski(i) 2 times for 9 laps; J. Clements 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: C. Elliott # – 1,185; R. Smith – 1,133; B. Scott – 1,120; E. Sadler – 1,119; T. Dillon # – 1,111; T. Bayne – 1,052; C. Buescher # – 975; B. Gaughan – 939; R. Reed # – 872; D. Kwasniewski # – 842.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 8 2014
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