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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Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.