With the third win of his rookie Nationwide Series career, Chase Elliott continued to make it look easy in this past Saturday night’s EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Elliott dominated the event, leading 85 of the 200 laps on the 1.5-mile oval located about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
“It was just a phenomenal effort by our whole team,” Elliott told MotorSportsTalk after the race. “The biggest thing I look back on is how fast our pit stops were. Those guys made the difference.”
Not only was it his third win of the season, putting him ahead of all other NNS drivers (he’s tied with Kyle Busch for wins, but Busch’s wins are not eligible to determine the Nationwide championship, as Elliott’s are), he also moved back atop the point standings.
The 18-year-old Elliott now leads former points leader Regan Smith by seven points and Elliott Sadler by eight points.
But displaying the same demeanor he’s shown all season, even with the most wins and the points lead right now, the son of 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott is staying calm, cool and collected.
In fact, as good as he’s been thus far, you might not know the kind of success Elliott’s had by the way he spoke after Saturday’s win – and in his first racing visit to Chicagoland, as well.
“I’m thinking we’ve got to get better and have to be able to improve from where we are tonight to be able to contend for more wins, because that’s what your competition is doing,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to keep that in mind and not ever get happy with where you are because that’s just the way the sport and the way everything evolves.
“The second you get happy with the position you’re in is when you’re going to go backwards. We just have to make sure we keep trying to persevere and get better week in and week out.
“We just have to improve all around and hopefully, if we can do that, we can try to get back to victory lane soon.”
In the same vein, looking at things more with a glass half-empty than half-full perspective extends to Elliott when it comes to him discussing being back on top of the NNS standings.
“Like I’ve said all year long. I don’t get caught up in the points,” Elliott said. “I don’t think I’ve looked at the points battle all season long on the Internet. Really, to me, it is what it is. If we go out and do our job on the weekend, the points are going to figure themselves out.
“If we all show up and do our jobs to the best of our ability week in and week out, the points will figure themselves out. And that’s all you can ask for. You can go out and try do your best, and from there a lot of it is out of your control. So we’ve just got to try and do that.”
Elliott is looking to make it four wins on the season and the second in a row in a first-time visit behind the wheel in this Saturday’s NNS race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m real excited about getting to Indy,” Elliott said. “That’s a place that means a lot to me personally, having my dad win the Brickyard in 2002. That’s just a special place for me ever since. It’s just such a tough race track, and the history that’s there when you walk through the tunnel, I don’t know if you can describe it.
“To walk through Gasoline Alley there next week, that’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’re going to try and make the most of it.”
Like maybe earning another win, perhaps? He’s certainly going to try, that’s for sure.
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