NASCAR: Elliott wins Nationwide race
JOLIET, Ill. — Chase Elliott held off Trevor Bayne to win the Nationwide Series stop at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night.
Elliott had a strong car all day for JR Motorsports, qualifying third and leading a race-high 85 laps. Bayne tried to chase him down on fresh tires in the final laps but ran out of time.
Elliott’s third victory of the year, following wins at Texas and Darlington, moved him to the top of the series standings.
Kyle Larson was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Ty Dillon to round out the top five.
Brian Scott, who started on the pole, finished sixth and earned $100,000 in the second event of the four-race “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program.
Kahne and Larson were the lone Sprint Cup regulars in the field on an off weekend for NASCAR’s top series. Everyone comes back to Chicagoland in September on the same weekend that the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins at the 1.52-mile oval.
The night began with a pair of Richard Childress Racing teammates in front after Scott and Dillon had the best showing in qualifying. It was Scott’s second pole of the season and No. 4 for his career. He won his first Nationwide Series pole at Chicagoland on Sept. 17, 2011.
Scott led for 20 laps before Elliott moved in front.
Erik Jones finished seventh in his Nationwide debut, driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota.
Jones, 18, won the Truck Series race last week at Iowa in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota he shares with Busch. Jones also won a Truck race last year in Phoenix.
Jones is expected to make two more Nationwide starts in Matt Kenseth’s car this season.
Regan Smith, who led the series standings by eight points over Elliott Sadler coming into the day, started 15th after a disappointing qualifying session, and it just got worse during the race. He never got into the mix on his way to 16th place.
It was similar to last year, when Smith was on top of the series heading into the first stop at Chicagoland, and then slid into the infield on Lap 129 and finished 13th. He had the same finish in the September race at the same track.