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Elliott Joins His Father In Racing History Books

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 16 2020

Chase Elliott celebrates his victory Wednesday night in Bristol. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Only twice since NASCAR’s All-Star race made its debut in 1985 has the event been held someplace other than Charlotte Motor Speedway and on both occasions the Elliott family has commandeered the victory.

In 1986 at Atlanta, it was Bill Elliott who emerged the victor. On Wednesday night, his son Chase outclassed the competition at Bristol Motor Speedway to claim the first-ever All Star short-track race.

“That’s extremely special to join Dad,” Elliott said. “Heck, I mean, that’s not just special, that’s a lot of years and a lot of history for everything to come full circle like that. It’s pretty dang cool.”

The 24-year-old Elliott’s victory made the Elliotts the second father and son to win the special event. The Earnhardts became the first with Dale Earnhardt winning the All-Star race in 1987, 1990 and 1993 before Dale Earnhardt Jr. became the first rookie to win the event in May 2000.

“Anytime you can join them (Earnhardts) in anything racing is very special,” Elliott said. 

  Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team entered the event at the tough half-mile track after a rough couple of weeks. However, by the end of the All-Star race’s 55-lap first stage it was evident things were going much smoother for the Hendrick Motorsports team in the four-stage, 140-lap non-points event. Elliott finished Stage 1 in third after starting 13th. He then easily won the next two 35-lap stages as well as the final 15-lap sprint, finishing 0.418 second ahead of runner-up Kyle Busch. The victory came two months after Elliott challenged for a point-race win at Bristol and he said his car Wednesday night was a “little bit better” than his May entry.

“I think we improved out car at least for the short run,” Elliott said. “The race a few weeks ago I felt like consisted of more long runs than the short runs. The short run came down to the very end. That was our weak point in that event. We put a lot of emphasis on trying to be better in the short run. I thought we hit it really well tonight.”

The Bristol race that Elliott nearly won in May was void of fans. Wednesday night, 25,000 to 30,000 attended the race, giving it the distinction of having the most fans at an event since the pandemic began. And it was something Elliott enjoyed tremendously.

“Tonight felt like an event again,” Elliott said. “I feel like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months. It just felt really good to get NASCAR back. I mean, NASCAR is built on the fans. Before (the) race, the atmosphere was energetic again. I felt like the vibe was back

“I felt like that fire and intensity in me was back even more so than it has been, a piece that had been missing. I think that’s driven by the people, the cars pulling in, the pre-race parties and everything that you see.

“I actually went up in the stands. I snuck up there with my mask on, watched the Open from the back straightaway. I’m looking around, seeing all these kids and families, people wearing their respective drivers, a lot of 9 gear. You don’t realize how much impact you have on people you never met, you ever will meet, who genuinely want to see me do well and they don’t even know me. It’s pretty dang cool to experience that. I felt like I had a special night sitting up there with them watching that Open from the grandstands, really seeing and getting back to the roots of what this sport is built on.”

With the victory, Elliott collected $1 million, the same amount of money his father earned in 1985 when he won the Winston Million bonus in its inaugural season. It was that accomplishment that earned him the nickname “Million Dollar Bill”. So what are the young Elliott’s plans for his $1 million?

“That’s a great question,” Elliott remarked. “(Ryan) Blaney was giving me a hard time about Mountain Dew earlier today. I think I’m just going to send a truck to his house and they’re going to unload about 14 pallets of Mountain Dew in his driveway this week, see what he does with that.”

Blaney might get the Mountain Dew, but Elliott is now guaranteed a spot in NASCAR’s All-Star race for the rest of his career. 

(Editor’s Note: Deb Williams is in her fourth decade of covering motorsports. The former editor of NASCAR Winston Cup Scene and managing editor of GT Motorsports has also covered auto racing for United Press International, USA Today and The Charlotte Observer. The 1990 and 1996 National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year has authored five books and hosts the podcast “Racing Now and Then.”)

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NASCAR Cup Series Race – NASCAR All-Star Race

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tennessee

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

  1. (13)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 140.
  2. (10)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 140.
  3. (5)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 140.
  4. (9)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 140.
  5. (15)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 140.
  6. (3)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 140.
  7. (12)  Joey Logano, Ford, 140.
  8. (2)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 140.
  9. (17)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 140.
  10. (1)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 140.
  11. (16)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 140.
  12. (18)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 140.
  13. (19)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 140.
  14. (4)  Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, 140.
  15. (20)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 140.
  16. (8)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 140.
  17. (14)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 140.
  18. (6)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 140.
  19. (11)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 140.
  20. (7)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 140.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  65.68 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 8 Mins, 10 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .418 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 13 laps.

Lead Changes:  6 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Truex Jr. 0;A. Bowman 1-2;R. Blaney 3-55;K. Harvick 56-61;C. Elliott 62-90;R. Blaney 91-109;C. Elliott 110-140.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Ryan Blaney 2 times for 72 laps; Chase Elliott 2 times for 60 laps; Kevin Harvick 1 time for 6 laps; Alex Bowman 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 12,4,9,88,20,10,22,2,18,6

Stage #2 Top Ten: 9,4,12,2,88,14,11,22,10,18

Stage #3 Top Ten: 9,12,2,18,4,11,20,22,88,14

 

NASCAR Cup Series Race – NASCAR All-Star Open

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tennessee

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

 

  1. (10)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 85.
  2. (9)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 85.
  3. (11)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 85.
  4. (8)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 85.
  5. (20)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 85.
  6. (4)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 85.
  7. (1)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 85.
  8. (19)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 85.
  9. (21)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 85.
  10. (5)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 85.
  11. (3)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 85.
  12. (18)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 85.
  13. (12)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 85.
  14. (13)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 85.
  15. (15)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 85.
  16. (14)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 85.
  17. (16)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 83.
  18. (17)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, Handling, 76.
  19. (7)  William Byron, Chevrolet, Stage 2 Winner, 70.
  20. (2)  Aric Almirola, Ford, Stage 1 Winner, 35.
  21. (6)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Accident, 17.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  57.388 mph.

Time of Race:  0 Hrs, 47 Mins, 22 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .789 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 18 laps.

Lead Changes:  3 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. McDowell 1-10;A. Almirola 11-35;W. Byron 36-70;M. DiBenedetto 71-85.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  William Byron 1 time for 35 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 25 laps; Matt DiBenedetto 1 time for 15 laps; Michael McDowell 1 time for 10 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 10,24,13,47,17,14,32,96,21,3

Stage #2 Top Ten: 32,8,15,27,53,24,21,3,14,95

2020 Fan Vote Winner: Clint Bowyer

 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 16 2020
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