Graduation one day, racing the next for Chase Elliott this weekend

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A busy weekend has come at last for NASCAR Nationwide Series championship leader Chase Elliott, who will get back to the task of defending his points lead in Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway.

But before he takes on Iowa, he’ll be earning his high school diploma.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old son of former Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott will receive his diploma from the King’s Ridge Christian School in Alpharetta, Georgia.

He won’t have much time, if any, to celebrate with his fellow graduates as qualifying takes place later that night in Iowa.

However, that’s a short-term obstacle. Elliott finds himself facing a long-term one. Now that high school’s done and dusted, the phenom will have to figure out other things to focus on when he isn’t driving for JR Motorsports.

“I think it is important to have a balance of what you do racing-wise and what you do during the week,” Elliott said to the Associated Press.

“It seems like all the Cup guys are having kids right now, and they’re all having them at about the same time. They all talk about that balance away from the race track, and I can understand where they’re coming from.”

The juggling of school and racing certainly hasn’t appeared to affect his performance.

While Elliott is now nursing a one-point lead over Talladega winner Elliott Sadler (and teammate Regan Smith is just three points back), he’s managed to attract plenty of buzz this spring thanks to his back-to-back wins in April at Texas and Darlington.

Outside of a few hiccups on restrictor-plate tracks, Elliott has been steady throughout the NNS season as well, with four Top-5s and seven Top-10 finishes.

And now that he’s done with school, you’d think that his performance would increase even further. Still, he expects that after the summer, he’ll find it strange knowing that he won’t be in a classroom.

“What’s going to be weird is not going back to high school this fall,” he added to the AP. “That’s going to be the deal that makes you sit back and think.

“I’m kind of waiting for that moment.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.