CLEARFIELD, Pa. – Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, finished 15th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at CNB Bank Raceway Park on July 14, after experiencing two flat tires during the course of the race.
Elliott now ranks third in the 2012 championship standings, nine points behind leader Brett Moffitt. Saturday night’s event will be broadcast on SPEED on Thursday, July 19 at 3 p.m. ET.
Elliott started the day at the .625-mile track on high note with two solid practice sessions and also had a strong qualifying run that lined him up eighth for the event. When the race got underway later that evening, Elliott quickly gained a couple positions and was running fifth by Lap 7. On Lap 25, Elliott was up to third.
The Dawsonville, Ga., native maintained the third position until Lap 66 when the right-front tire on his No. 9 Chevrolet went down. This brought out the caution flag. Crew chief Lance McGrew called Elliott in the pits so the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com team could give him a replacement tire for the one that went flat. Since Elliott came down pit road too early, he was forced to start in 15th – at the tail-end of the lead-lap traffic – when the race resumed at Lap 70.
Six laps later, the race neared the midway point, and Elliott had worked his way up to 13th when the red flag was waved for the 10-minute break. Elliott came in the pits for four fresh tires and a chassis adjustment to loosen the No. 9 Chevrolet’s handling. When the race resumed at Lap 77, Elliott gained a position on the restart because the No. 1 car lost power, and he was up to 12th. Three laps later, Elliott was running 10th.
The 16-year-old driver gradually worked his way through the field to regain track position that he lost earlier from his right-front tire going down. By Lap 118, Elliott was running seventh. Misfortune struck again, however, 24 laps later when the No. 9 Chevrolet’s right-rear tire went down and Elliott had to pit. Prior to this stop, Elliott was running fifth when he radioed to McGrew that he thought another tire was going down. As a result, Elliott lost several track positions and fell back to the last car on the lead lap. Elliott did his best to control the ill-handling No. 9 Chevrolet so he wouldn’t hit the wall.
The race remained under green-flag conditions while Elliott pitted to replace that right-rear tire so when he rejoined the field, he was three laps down and running 15th.
At Lap 147, the track’s lights went out on the backstretch and this brought out the red flag. When the cars were rolling again under this caution, Elliott gained a lap back after the call was made from NASCAR K&N officials. The race resumed at Lap 150 and set up a green-white-checkered flag finish. Elliott crossed the line 15th.
Elliott has posted one win, seven top-five finishes, 13 top-10s and led 70 laps in 22 career K&N Pro Series starts.
Next up, Elliott will drive his No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet in the July 21 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio.