RICHMOND, Va. – Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, will spend this Thursday racing in two events at Richmond International Raceway.
First on his schedule that day will be the 100-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event that starts at 7 p.m. ET. Immediately afterward, Elliott will race in the 75-lap Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, a special NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division race that will raise money for the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Both of these events will broadcast live on SPEED.
“In some aspects, it is different running two races in the same day,” Elliott said, when asked how he will mentally and physically prepare for Thursday’s two events. “But they are both fairly short races so it would be similar to running a longer race. I think you should keep your regular routine in preservation for it.”
Elliott, 16, has previous experience in both of Thursday’s events at Richmond.
In this K&N event last year, Elliott lined up for the first time at the .75-mile track, starting the race sixth. A rain delay halted the event temporarily at Lap 29, and when the race resumed, Elliott was still running sixth. He battled a tight-handling No. 9 Chevrolet all night, and that made it hard for him to maintain track position. He finished 24th, which was his third career start in the series at the time.
“Anytime you can get laps somewhere is always huge,” Elliott said, who earned two top-10 finishes and led a total of 40 laps in three K&N Pro Series starts this season. “But having the experience of running an actual race at a track before is even better because you simply can’t beat race laps.
“Just having an idea of Richmond’s track will help during both practices and the race on Thursday because we’ll be able to work on the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevy more versus me having to take the time to get laps in. I still need all the laps I can get though. Obviously, we wouldn’t be going if we weren’t there to win the race so that’s what I’m shooting for.”
In 14 career K&N Pro Series East starts, Elliott has posted three top-five finishes and eight top-10s.
After running in the K&N Pro Series East event, Elliott will compete in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. In 2011, Elliott was asked at the last-minute to drive for current Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, who underwent knee surgery. Elliott battled hard all night to finish third.
“It feels good to race in Denny’s event,” Elliott said. “Obviously, the biggest thing is that it goes to a good cause, the Denny Hamlin Foundation. So to be a part of that means a lot me, and not only that, you get to race against some (NASCAR Sprint) Cup guys, too. It’s a good cause, and I’ll get some good experience so it will be a fun night.
“Last year’s race went really well. Everything kind of came together at the last minute. Actually I think that morning, the car was still at their shop, and it wasn’t even close to being ready. They had some guys go over, and they worked on it that morning and brought it over to the track, and we finished third so it was a good night.”