Chase Elliott, the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, held off Hall of Famer Tony Stewart Saturday night at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway to win the finale of the inaugural Camping World SRX Series season.
“I had a ball. I got to race against two of my heroes,” Elliott 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.”
He also commented on how competitive the racing was between him and his dad throughout much of the 77-lap feature event.
“I don’t know who lit a fire under him,” he said, smiling. “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 one and missed that restart. Other than that, it was so much fun.”
Bill Elliott won the first heat race, leading all but three laps with Chase behind him in second. The finish positions were inverted for Heat Race 2. Helio Castroneves took the heat win as Bill Elliott finished sixth and Chase Elliott placed eighth.
The lineup for the feature was based on the finishing positions in the two heat races. Bill Elliott started first with Chase Elliott in fourth place, but by Lap 32, Chase Elliott was on his dad’s bumper. He took the lead on Lap 55 and Bill Elliott fell back to third. From that point, the battle was on between Chase Elliott and Stewart, who had started fifth but worked his way toward the front to challenge for the win. Elliott was able to maintain the lead to score the victory at the .596-mile oval in Nashville.
Stewart clinched the SRX Series championship during the second heat race and finished second in the feature.
“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.”
Bill Elliott finished third after a disappointing final restart but described the race as “cool.”
“I’ve raced here before and I kind of had an idea of what I needed, and I think that helped as much as anything. It was such a cool deal to be able to come here and do this and have a crowd like this.
“For me, I finally got what I wanted out of a racecar and I felt good out there. I thought, I’m on Medicare and I’m trying to keep up with these young kids. You’re trying to learn and gain, and every time you get into a racecar you learn something, you learn from your mistakes. Not being in one in a long time and kind of making a mistake in turn one, not cleaning up my tires good, that was it.
“To me, it was a great night. My hat’s off to everyone at SRX for what they did and I’m proud of those guys. I just hope that we, as a racing community, can embrace this and learn from it, especially what we saw here tonight at the Nashville Fairgrounds. I haven’t seen a crowd like this here in many, many years.”
Stewart, a co-founder of the Camping World SRX Series, echoed Elliott’s sentiments.
“This series had every variable that you wanted and looked for. You had good racing, you had different winners, you had awesome crew chiefs, awesome ringers, awesome local track champions. To have heroes and villains in the series, I don’t know how you can ask for more than that.”
Feature Results (77 laps):
- Chase Elliott (Started 4th; led laps 53, 55-77)
- Tony Stewart (Started 5th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led laps 1-52, 54; completed 77/77 laps)
- Bobby Labonte (Started 2nd; completed 77/77 laps)
- Paul Tracy (Started 7th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 3rd; completed 77/77 laps)
- Michael Waltrip (Started 10th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Tony Kanaan (Started 8th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Helio Castroneves (Started 6th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Hailie Deegan (Started 11th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 77/77 laps)
- Willy T. Ribbs (Started 12th; completed 56/77 laps)
Camping World SRX Series FINAL Championship Standings:
- Tony Stewart (237 points)
- Ernie Francis Jr. (192 points, -45)
- Bobby Labonte (182 points, -55)
- Marco Andretti (171 points, -66)
- Helio Castroneves (164 points, -73)
- Tony Kanaan (162 points, -75)
- Paul Tracy (121 points, -116)
- Michael Waltrip (111 points, -126)
- Bill Elliott (105 points, -132)
- Willy T. Ribbs (67 points, -170)