Chase Elliott wins SRX finale as Stewart claims series title
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott held off three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart to take the victory in the Camping World SRX Series season finale Saturday night at the Nashville (Tenn.) Fairgrounds Speedway.
Elliott crossed the stripe .439 of a second ahead of Stewart after battling his father, Bill, for much of the 77-lap race around the .596-mile oval.
“I had a ball. I got to race against two of my heroes,” Chase said. “I got to race against dad there throughout the race and those are moments I will cherish forever. Just super thankful to be here.”
Chase started fourth in his No. 94 machine and by Lap 32 of 77 was second to his father, who led from the start. Chase took the lead from Bill for the first time on Lap 53, only for Bill to take it back a lap later.
“I don’t know who lit a fire under him,” said Chase about his father. “I had not seen that in him in years. It was amazing and a lot of fun. I thought it was going to be between he and I. I think he just got a little high into (Turn) 1 and missed that restart. Other than that, it was so much fun.”
Chase and Bill Elliott, SRX Nashville
Photo by: True Speed PR
Nashville marked only the second time Bill and Chase had raced against each other. The first time came on Oct. 20, 2013, in the Alabama Pro 125 Late Model race at South Alabama Speedway, where Chase won and Bill finished fourth.
“I didn’t need to happen what happened there (on the final restart). I just didn’t get all the stuff off my tires like I needed to. I just rolled up the hill, I was in it, then I got in it, then I was fighting,” Bill said.
“I was trying to get back to Tony but then I lost my drive up off and I was really having a hard time controlling my wheel spin up off the corner.
“Man, I tell you what, it was a lot of fun. I knew the way the tires were on these cars and the way Chase manages his stuff, he was going to be hard to beat. I know he didn’t have the best car, but he knows how to get it to the end.”
Stewart, who clinched the inaugural series championship before the second heat race ended, drove from fifth in the 12-driver field to begin engaging the Elliotts just past the midpoint of the race.
Stewart passed Bill for second on Lap 61 and promptly set his sights on Chase. While Stewart got close, Chase held onto the lead and held off Stewart.
“How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliotts?” Stewart said. “That’s pretty badass in itself, and we really appreciate NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports for letting Chase come run with us. It means a lot to us; it means a lot to Bill.
“Winning this championship is awesome. I really appreciate Marcus Lemonis and everyone at Camping World for stepping up and helping us when we needed to get this thing off the ground, and all of our partners that have come on board. On all of these cars there are different sponsors, so a lot of people made this happen.”
Race winner Chase Elliot, SRX Nashville
Photo by: True Speed PR
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), founded by Stewart, Ray Evernham, Sandy Montag and George Pyne, featured six short track races on a mix of pavement and dirt with drivers running identical cars.
Feature Results (77 laps):
1. Chase Elliott (Started 4th; led 24 of 77 laps)
2. Tony Stewart (Started 5th; completed 77/77 laps)
3. Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led 53 of 77 laps)
4. Bobby Labonte (Started 2nd; completed 77 laps)
5. Paul Tracy (Started 7th; completed 77/77 laps)
6. Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 3rd; completed 77 laps)
7. Michael Waltrip (Started 10th; completed 77 laps)
8. Tony Kanaan (Started 8th; completed 77 laps)
9. Helio Castroneves (Started 6th; completed 77 laps)
10. Hailie Deegan (Started 11th; completed 77 laps)
11. Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 77 laps)
12. Willy T. Ribbs (Started 12th; completed 56 laps)
SRX Series final Championship Standings:
1. Tony Stewart (237 points)
2. Ernie Francis Jr. (192 points, -45)
3. Bobby Labonte (182 points, -55)
4. Marco Andretti (171 points, -66)
5. Helio Castroneves (164 points, -73)
6. Tony Kanaan (162 points, -75)
7. Paul Tracy (121 points, -116)
8. Michael Waltrip (111 points, -126)
9. Bill Elliott (105 points, -132)
10. Willy T. Ribbs (67 points, -170)