Following the ARCA race Saturday in which Chase Elliott and Dylan Kwasniewski were given the opportunity to prove themselves, the two 18-year-old drivers have been approved by NASCAR to compete in speedway racing. Kwasniewski started in pole position at Daytona International Speedway and finished the race in fourteenth position, while Elliott crossed the finish line in ninth place. Grant Enfinger took the checkered flag, being his first victory at Daytona, and the third of his career. Frank Kimmel and Clay Campbell took second and third places respectively.
Born on November 28, 1995, Chase Elliott is the son of 1988 Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott. He has been a development driver for Hendrick Motorsports and will reportedly be driving the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In 2010, Elliott 12 of the 40 races he competed in, and finished in the top ten no less than 38 times. He was selected as the Georgia Asphalt Pro Late Model Series Rookie of the Year in 2010, finishing the season with a victory at the Winchester 400.
In February 2011, Elliott entered into a driver development contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Highlights in 2011 included finishing ninth in series points in the K&N Pro Series East and competing in the CRA where he won the National Super Late Model Championship. Elliott became the Snowball Derby’s youngest winner just after his sixteenth birthday in 2011.
In 2012 Elliott returned to the K&N Pro Series East claiming his first career victory at Iowa Speedway in May of that year and finished fourth in series points. Driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott became the youngest winner at Pocono Raceway in ARCA history in June 2013. Also in 2013, he became the youngest driver to earn pole-position in the NASCAR Truck Series, and at the age of 17 years, 9 months and 4 days, became the youngest winner in Truck Series history. With his victory at the All American 400 in November 2013, Elliot became the first driver to win the largest four short-track races, being the Snowball Derby, the Winchester 400, the World Crown 300 and the All American 400.
With the jury still out on the role Elliott played in the multiple car crash during the ARCA race, it is unclear as to whether he will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year. The NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Daytona International Speedway on February 22 with the DRIVE4COPD 300.
Forming part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, The Boyd Gaming 300 was introduced in 1997 as the Las Vegas 300. It consists of 200 laps around Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The winner in 2013 was Sam Hornish Jr, so be sure to watch and see who wins in 2014.
Date: 8 March 2014
Time: 04:15pm ET
Venue: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
City: Las Vegas
In its ongoing efforts to “go green” NASCAR racing teams have reportedly committed to use a 15% ethanol blend (E15) in all three of its 2013 national racing series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck – being 50% more ethanol than the E10 blend available at US service stations. Moreover, NASCAR has set a goal of planting enough trees to offset carbon emissions produced by its race cars, noting that a single tree has the potential of absorbing a metric ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime which is roughly equivalent to the carbon dioxide produced by a race car travelling 500 miles.
A number of NASCAR affiliates and partners are joining in the tree planting initiative. Ford has committed to planting one tree for every lap led by a Ford driver during April, with UPS joining forces with the Arbor Day Foundation in an effort to plant more than 8,000 trees as a celebration of this annual event. (National Arbor Day in the United States is observed on the last Friday in April each year, although individual states may have Arbor Day on different dates according to their optimal time for tree planting.) Through NASCAR’s Green website, fans are being encouraged to support the “NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program™” with donations. A number of regions that have recently been hit by natural disasters have been identified as targets for the tree planting project, and those donating can choose which area they would like their donation to be used in.
The other NASCAR Green initiative is the “NASCAR Race to GREEN™” project designed to motivate fans, teams, tracks, drivers, and official NASCAR Partners to protect our environment. NASCAR is committed to environmental sustainability and recycling programs. At NASCAR tracks Coca-Cola and Coors Light provide bins for recycling plastic bottle and aluminum cans, while Safety-Kleen Systems recycles and re-refines all oil and lubricant used in racing, and Goodyear facilitates an effective tire recycling program. Other NASCAR Green partners include Creative Recycling, Freightliner, Green Earth Technologies, Green Plains Renewable Energy, Growth Energy, Miller Coors, NCGA, McLaren, New Holland Agriculture, POET, Sprint, Sunoco, Toyota, UPS, Novozymes, and 3M.
In a statement NASCAR CEO Brian France said that the NASCAR Green program in April is the “most ambitious and collective effort to date in reducing the sport’s impact on the environment”. Clearly, NASCAR Green is an initiative worth supporting.
Taking the lead in 209 of the 250 laps in Sunday’s NASCAR Nationwide race at the Iowa Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. claimed his third straight win on the short oval. In a post-race interview, Stenhouse noted that he found it to be a lot of fun leading that many laps and that it felt good to win three in a row. His 209 laps lead tied the track record set in 2010 by Kyle Busch, while his three-in-a-row win at the same track was the first by a Nationwide driver since Busch set that record at Texas in 2009-2010. Stenhouse’s victory also extended his point lead to 28 over second-place winner Elliot Sadler. Michael McDowell finished third with rookie Austin Dillion and Kurt Busch coming in fourth and fifth respectively.
While Elliot Sadler started on the pole, Sam Hornish Jr. soon took the lead, holding it for thirty laps before losing it to Stenhouse. Cole Whitt, Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier each had a short stint in the lead, but were unable to hold Stenhouse back for more than a few laps. Having worked his way to second place, Sadler commended his team for coming back from the previous week’s disappointment with a car worthy of winning the race.
For the second time this season, Danica Patrick failed to finish the race. Starting ninth, Patrick fell back to 16th place before her tire reportedly blew, and she drifted wide slamming into the wall on her 115th lap of the 250-lap event. The damage suffered by the No.7 car was too extensive for Patrick to continue the race. Admitting that she was disappointed, particularly in light of the fact that they were having the best short track weekend ever, Patrick noted that there are 34 weekends of racing where anything could happen.
Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, 18-year old Darrell Wallace Jr. Started eighth in his first Nationwide series career start, and finished in ninth place. Wallace is sponsored by NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program. This initiative was started in 2004 and has experienced a measure of success in increasing participating by women and minority groups in this fast-paced sport.
Thrilled with his Nationwide victory at Chicagoland Speedway, Brad Keselowski appears determined to carry his current momentum through into the rest of the season, with his eye on the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The fact that Carl Edwards ran out of gas on the Chicagoland pit road, gave Keselowski the break he needed to take the lead, which he kept to the end, crossing the finish line 8.568 seconds ahead of Edwards, and claiming his third win of the season.
Keselowski’s performance on Saturday was his first victory since he took first place at Indianapolis in July. Four days after Indianapolis, he broke his left ankle in an accident during a test run at Road Atlanta, and was forced to miss three scheduled races. Three weeks ago the defending Nationwide champion took first place just prior to the opening round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championships – referred to simply as The Chase. Keselowski has claimed one of the two wild-card spots to participate in this prestigious event, and is rumored to be considered as a serious contender by more experienced drivers.
In response to the speculation that he had the advantage in the Sprint Cup due to having missed on some of the Nationwide Series through his injury, Keselowski denied that this was the case. He noted that this erroneous viewpoint was unfair to a lot of people and not in line with the reality that the Penske Racing team members are working well together which contributed to the success.
Having taken second place after running out of fuel, Carl Edwards was reported as saying that he had a really good time racing with Brad Keselowski, and commended NASCAR for letting the race run its course following his fuel stop, rather than throwing a caution to bunch the field back together. He noted that this decision reinforced the organization’s credibility.
Brian Scott took third place at Chicagoland, and was reported as saying that racing with the Sprint Cup drivers is the best experience a Nationwide driver can have. He noted that his team performed well in a field full of Cup drivers and he was proud of the effort. Aric Almirola took fourth place with Sam Hornish Jnr coming in at fifth.