No place like home: Chase Elliott earns first career NNS pole at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Ga. – Chase Elliott has won three races thus far in his rookie season on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit.

But the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has never won a pole position in the NNS – until Saturday.

The younger Elliott earned his first pole in 24 starts – and the sixth different driver to get his first career NNS pole – this season.

The only driver to crack 180 mph, Elliott’s speed of 180.240 mph paced the field for Saturday night’s Great Clips 300 to Feed the Children. The 18-year-old Elliott grew up in suburban Atlanta and considers AMS his home track.

“This is a big weekend for me, hometown for me and (primary sponsor) NAPA,” Elliott told ESPN. “My dad has given me a little bit of advice. We’re looking forward to the race tonight, hope the rain stays away and we finish where we start.”

Elliott, who earned a pole while racing part-time in the Camping World Truck Series last season (at Bristol), becomes the youngest pole-winner at AMS, breaking a 22-year-old record now previously held by Sprint Cup star Jeff Gordon.

Elliott also comes into tonight’s race atop the NNS points standings with a 13-point lead.

Kyle Larson made a late burst in the closing minutes to vault up to the No. 2 position with a top speed of 179.510 mph.

Kyle Busch was third-fastest (179.487 mph), followed by Joey Logano (179.441), Elliott Sadler (178.677), Matt Kenseth (178.551), Trevor Bayne (178.436), Kevin Harvick (178.246), Brian Scott (177.983) and David Ragan (177.312).

Regan Smith was 11th-fastest (177.119), followed by Ryan Reed (176.274).

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”