HAMPTON, Va. – Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, rebounded from an early race spin to finish third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Langley Speedway on June 23.
Elliott still ranks first in the 2012 championship standings. Saturday night’s 175-lap K&N Pro Series East event at Langley will broadcast on SPEED on Thursday, June 28 at 3 p.m. ET.
“I think we had a better Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevy than where we ended, but circumstances – short-track racing – ended up getting us behind a little bit there,” Elliott said. “I really had to wear the tires out to catch back up. It’s unfortunate we got caught up in that mess, but that’s racing and we’ll just have to move on.”
Elliott won the pole for Saturday’s K&N Pro Series East race at Langley and set a track record with a lap of 16.400 seconds (86.927 mph). This was his first career pole position in the series, and with the first-place starting spot, he also became the youngest pole winner in K&N Pro Series East. At 16 years, 6 months, 26 days, Elliott broke the previous record of 16 years, 8 months, 10 days set by Brett Moffitt in 2009.
When the race started Saturday evening, Elliott was quick right out of the gate in his No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet and kept the lead until Lap 20. Five laps later, Elliott was running fifth as drivers were battling their way to the front and settling in.
Elliott maintained the fifth position and made the move underneath on Darrell Wallace to gain the fourth spot at Lap 55. After completing the pass, Elliott sustained contact from Wallace’s car while exiting Turn 4. The contact caused Elliott to spin, and it brought out the race’s second caution. While Wallace was sent to the back of the field for aggressive driving, Elliott kept his cool and radioed his team that he wasn’t going to give up. At the restart on Lap 62, Elliott was 15th.
Elliott steadily drove his way through the field and was running 11th by Lap 80. Eight laps later on a restart, the 16-year-old driver gained two positions in just one lap and was up to ninth. Elliott continued to show his determination to get his No. 9 Chevrolet back to the front when he took the fifth spot at Lap 133. Ten laps later, he was running fourth.
Elliott fell back to fifth when he avoided an accident that occurred near him on Lap 167. When the race resumed on Lap 172, Elliott was quick on the restart and swiftly worked his way into third, which is where he finished the event.
Elliott now has posted one win, six top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and led 70 laps in 19 career K&N Pro Series East starts.
Next up, Elliott will drive his No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet in the July 1 ARCA Racing Series event at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.