Elliott Finds Runner-Up Finish at Michigan

6/13/2015

News

Chase Elliott drove to a second-place finish Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway while teammates Kevin Harvick and Regan Smith also ended the day with solid finishes.

Race 13 of 33: Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway

Track Specs: 2-mile oval / 125 laps

Weather: Cloudy; 75 deg.

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Elliott’s finish: 2nd

Harvick’s finish: 6th

Smith’s finish: 11th  

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, drove to a second-place finish in Saturday’s Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway.  Elliott and the No. 9 team pieced together a masterful race, positioning themselves in the top three late in the race.  The team’s running position left them in perfect position to pounce on the lead with eight laps to go.  In the end, Elliott was unable to hold off a hard-charging Kyle Busch.  The strong finish marks Elliott’s sixth top-five effort of the season and leaves him third in the championship points standings, 35 markers behind leader Chris Buescher.

Elliott took the green flag in 12th and made a quick climb through the field, finding sixth by the competition caution on lap 25. As the race wore on, Elliott begin experimenting with different lines around the track while battling a tight condition.  With handling conditions fluctuating, Elliott’s tight car turned loose around the halfway point. 

Elliott brought the No. 9 to pit road on lap 85 for a four-tire stop, and once back up to speed, reported the handling was much improved.  Then when a caution slowed the field on lap 93, crew chief Ernie Cope elected to not pit and Elliott lined up for the ensuing restart in third.  Elliott hung on to a position inside the top five, but found third again by lap 115 and fell in line behind leader Joey Logano and second-place runner Kevin Harvick.  Moments later, Harvick made contact with Logano in turn four and the two slid up the racetrack, opening the door for Elliott to grab the lead.  Elliott settled in with the lead, but Kyle Busch mounted a hard charge at the top spot in the closing laps.  Elliott made a valiant effort to hold off Busch, however Busch made a pass on Elliott with three to go and raced to the victory. 

Following Busch and Elliott to the line were the cars of Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“I’ll be honest, second does not feel as good as it should.  I thought we had a NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy good enough to compete today.  For us to battle our way up through there, it was challenging at times.  Toward the end, we put ourselves in position on that last restart.  The 22 would have been really hard to beat today.  When Kevin [Harvick] got into him on accident, it moved him up the racetrack and opened up our opportunity to have a shot at the win. It was a good day and a solid effort, but there is still room to improve.”

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick attempted a dramatic late-race pass for the win, but couldn’t quite make the No. 88 Morton Buildings Chevrolet stick on the bottom and ended Saturday’s Great Clips 250 with a sixth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway. The result marked his eighth top-10 finish in 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) starts at the two-mile oval and his fifth top 10 in seven races in 2015.

The driver of the No. 88 Chevy started seventh but moved quickly into the top five. Harvick and crew chief Dave Elenz worked together on the radio to develop a solid pit strategy for the 125-lap event, which saw a total of eight caution periods over its duration.  The Morton Buildings Camaro picked up a tight handling condition early in the race, but adjustments on the first pit stop seemed to help and Harvick was able to stay up front.

Restarts were a factor during the caution-filled event and starting in the preferred outside lane was an advantage the No. 88 didn’t frequently enjoy.  Harvick also battled a tight racecar throughout much of the race, but he was able to make the most of it and keep the Morton Buildings Chevy near the front and the ever-important clean air.

Harvick lined up on the inside in the third position for the final restart on lap 115. He made a move underneath race-leader Joey Logano, but got loose and had to chase the car up the racetrack, affecting both drivers. They were able to avoid incident, but lost a lot of ground and Harvick was relegated back to 12th with just a handful of laps remaining. The veteran was able to work his way back up to sixth by the time he took the checkered flag.  Harvick’s effort helped to propel the No. 88 team back up to third in the NXS owners standings, trailing the current standings leader, Penske’s No. 22 team, by 51 points.

Kyle Busch led the field across the stripe, followed by Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler.

Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 Morton Buildings team

“The restarts were pretty crazy all day. It was one of those deals where you had to push and shove to make up ground. The bottom was tough. I haven’t seen a replay of that last restart, but I knew I had a huge push and it was getting toward the end of the race, so I figured it was time to drive it down in there and I just got loose underneath Joey [Logano]. I tried to chase it up the track and got into him. Not intentional, by any means, I just didn’t let my foot out of the throttle trying to go for the win there at the end. I have to thank all of my Morton Buildings guys for everything they’ve done on these JR Motorsports cars this weekend.”

Regan Smith

Regan Smith ended Saturday’s Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway with an 11th-place showing.  It was a disappointing finish for the Suave Men team, who spent much of the day racing among the top 10. 

From the outset of the race, Smith and the No. 7 team wrestled with a loose condition on their Chevrolet.  The team worked to seventh before a competition caution flew on lap 25 and brought Smith to pit road.  After a strategic call for two right-side tires, Smith pulled out of the pit stall and into heavy traffic, which resulted in contact with the No. 90 of Martin Roy.  The damage was minimal, but crew chief Jason Burdett took the cautionary measure of bringing Smith back down pit road to assess the damage and take on two left-side tires. 

When the field returned to racing, Smith wasted little time climbing back inside the top 10 from the 22nd spot, even driving to fourth as green-flag pit stops cycled through.  In an impressive restart on lap 96, Smith made a brazen move to the outside and took away the third position, a race high for the No. 7. 

But as the race wore on, handling deteriorated and the loose condition on the Suave Men Chevy dropped the team outside the top 10.  The team salvaged an 11th-place finish by the time they took the checkered flag.

Kyle Busch won the race and was followed across the line by JRM teammate Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Suave Men team

“It was a frustrating day for the Suave Men team.  We felt like we had a solid car for the race today, but the longer we ran, the harder it was to get a handle on it.  It certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.  Jason [Burdett, crew chief] and the guys did a great job, just collectively we need to do better and get the finishes we’re capable of.  We’ll focus on doing that for Chicagoland next week.”

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

12th

Finish

2nd

Laps Completed (Led)

125 of 125 (5)

Points (Bonus)

43 (1)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-35)

Status

Running 

 

 

 

No. 88 Morton Buildings

Chevrolet Camaro

Kevin Harvick

Start

7th

Finish

6th

Laps Completed (Led)

125 of 125 (0)

Points (Bonus)

38 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-51)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 7 Suave Men Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith

Start

8th

Finish

11th

Laps Completed (Led)

125 of 125 (0)

Points (Bonus)

33 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-55)

Status

Running 

 

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 23 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 30 01:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 6 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 13 08:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 20 04:00 PM ET
    Chicagoland 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After LS Tractor 200

Phoenix Raceway | 3/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Harrison Burton #1760
2Chase Briscoe173-3
3Austin Cindric155-21
4Brandon Jones148-28
5Ross Chastain146-30
6Noah Gragson143-33
7Ryan Sieg143-33
8Justin Haley140-36
9Justin Allgaier138-38
10Michael Annett119-57