Elliott Has a Character Building Night
Dawsonville, GA (April 12, 2010) - Jeff Gordon and Chase Elliott surely could swap some stories after this past weekend’s races. In Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon inherited the lead from the race’s dominant driver, Kyle Busch, but spun his tires on the final restart and wound up finishing second behind surprise winner Ryan Newman.
In Friday’s season opener for the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., Elliott inherited the lead late in the race when leader Augie Grill developed an oil leak. But when the green flag flew for the final time, Elliott spun his tires and opened the door for Bubba Pollard to sneak by and take the win.
Like Gordon at Phoenix, Elliott shouldered the responsibility for the late-race turn of events, and thanked his crew for a great effort.
“I’m sorry guys,” he radioed to his crew after the checkered flag. “That was ours. I just messed up. That pit stop was fantastic. I never would have been in the position to contend for this win without that pit stop. Thank you.”
The pit stop Elliott referred to came with just five laps to go. Elliott had already overcome an early-race spin and battled back into contention for a top-five finish. But the timely caution and some quick work by his Aaron’s Dream Machine crew put him in position to do even better than that.
Series rules allowed for a two-tire pit stop, and the Aaron’s crew planned to take full advantage of that opportunity. Elliott entered the pits in sixth position but his crew sent him out in second place, just behind the No. 112 of Grill.
The field was given two laps to go when track officials waved off the restart due to rear end grease being put down on the track by none other than Grill, right in front of Elliott.
Elliott, with grease covering his windshield, led the field to the green flag, something he had never before had the privilege of doing at the historic speedway.
With the No. 18 of Pollard on his bumper, Elliott spun his tires on the restart. Pollard was able to pull up side by side with Elliott, but Elliott pulled away and held the lead. But another caution flag flew, and it was up to Elliott to restart the field again. Elliott spun his tires a second time, and this time Pollard did get by, relegating Elliott to second place.
“It was a character-building night,” team owner Bill Elliott said in summing up the race.