JEFFERSON, Ga. – With the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule spread across 10 different states and competitors coming from multiple countries in the Western Hemisphere, it’s not often that a driver gets a chance to perform at his home track. Series points leader Chase Elliott will have the privilege this weekend.
Elliott hails from Dawsonville, Ga., less than 50 miles from Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., site of this week’s Slack Auto Parts 150. Elliott has family ties to Gresham Motorsports Park. His uncle, Dan Elliott, is the general manager of the facility. Dan’s wife and daughter also are involved in operations at the half-mile track.
Chase Elliott is ready to redeem himself at Gresham after his first K&N Pro Series East event there last year didn’t go as planned. Elliott qualified sixth, but experienced a fuel issue near the end of the race and was credited with a 22nd-place finish. But Elliott isn’t concerned about his homecoming.
“I don’t know if it’s any more pressure,” Elliott said. “Obviously I’ll have friends and family there to watch, but realistically this will be just like any other race, and we’re going to go out and do the best that we can. We do have family ties there with Uncle Dan at the racetrack, but at the same time we’re just another racer there, and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Elliott draws confidence from his recent performances in the K&N Pro Series as well as the late model level. On May 19, he bested the field at Iowa Speedway to win the East-West combination race, and he also scored two late model wins during the month of May.
In addition, Elliott has had extensive success at Gresham in various series since the track re-opened in 2010. In 12 late model starts there during the past three years, Elliott has four wins, including the Beau Slocumb Memorial on April 7 and the Racing Radios 100 on May 12. He has three pole positions, eight top-five finishes and nine top-10s at the half-mile track.
While his experience in the K&N Pro Series car is limited at Gresham, Elliott believes his familiarity with the track will allow him to focus more on dialing in the car in practice rather than trying to learn the track.
“With the K&N Pro Series we’ve only been there once in that car, so I don’t know if it’s comfort as much as it’s just a little bit of knowledge of how the racetrack has changed from last year to this year,” Elliott said. “Being able to race on it twice already this year might help me a little bit.”
As the season nears its halfway mark, Elliott ranks first in the 2012 championship standings, 16 points ahead of second-place Corey LaJoie. Elliott and the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com team aren’t focused on points, though.
“We’re just chasing solid runs and obviously we’re there to win the race, or we wouldn’t come,” Elliott said. “I think it’s way too early to worry about points. If we go out and give it our best shot, I think the points are going to figure themselves out all the way to race No. 14.”
In 17 career K&N Pro Series East starts, Elliott has posted one win, five top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and led 50 laps. The 16-year-old Elliott is the only K&N Pro Series East driver to finish in the top 10 in each race this year.
The 150-lap race at Gresham Motorsports Park will broadcast Thursday, June 21 on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET.
Elliott will participate in the K&N Pro Series East autograph session at Gresham on June 9 at 5 p.m. local time. For race weekend updates, please follow Megan Whiteside on Twitter at www.twitter.com/meganwhiteside and Cindy Elliott at www.twitter.com/CindyElliott9
The above is Courtesy of NASCAR PR.