Jefferson, GA - Chase Elliott is mind-numbingly good at what he does. He very well might be the best. He was definitely the class of the field on Wednesday night, winning the World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park.
Elliott is the real deal folks. And it doesn't have anything to do with his lineage or his Hendrick Motorsports backing either. He's the real deal because he's more polished on and off the track than most of the guys already in the Cup Series.
Elliott is a former track champion at Mobile and Pensacola, so I've watched him race hundreds of times over the past two years and the beauty of what Chase has been able to accomplish is that he's never caused an accident in the races that I've watched him compete in.
I've only seen him involved in a crash once, the 2011 Snowflake 100, and that wasn't even his fault. It's not that he's devoid of any guilt throughout his career. He started racing super late models at 13 years old and was prone to the occasional rookie mistake, but that was a long time ago and Elliott's finally arrived as a National sensation.
He keeps his nose clean, races hard, is the best interview in the junior circuit and can race on any track surface. He's going to win multiple championships and despite his humble personality, we're going to hate him more than we've ever hated Jimmie because of the success he's going to have.
Enjoy watching him in a late model and in the K&N Pro Series because he's not going to be there for very long.
Elliott won all three segments and cashed $20,000 as a result. He's the second-straight winner to accomplish that feat, joining Chris Wimmer, making you wonder what Elliott could buy with the winner's share:
- Pay for a year's worth of tuition at Chapel Hill UNC (In-state student)
- Order General Tso's Chicken from Sizzling Wok every day for 5.27 years
- Purchase a 2008 BMW 328i
- Some people can even purchase a date for twenty grand.
That said, we all know where the purse is really going - tires and equipment to fuel the next Elliott Motorsports victory. He even told the media as much during last night's postrace interview. It's still an intriguing thought for the 16-year old prodigy, who is bound to earn all of the above and then some before his career comes to a close.
A race recap and the complete finishing order can be found beneath the jump.
The final segment, despite Elliott's dominance wasn't without drama, as the finish was marred by several late-race cautions that trashed several of the leaders and left Bubba Pollard within a restart of nipping Elliott for the victory.
Pollard was able to hang within a second of Elliott's pace on the final restart with ten laps to go but could pull no closer. Elliott won by five car lengths, completing a Georgia podium that included Pollard and David Ragan.
"We just had a really good car tonight," Elliott said. "Everyone has been working really hard on these cars this year, and I feel like our cars get better and better."
Elliott was also the pole-sitter for Wednesday's race and led the most laps.
"We were all racing for second," Ragan said. "I think we worked as hard as anyone else out here tonight and I was glad to bring it home with a podium. Chase is just a really special talent and for him to win a race this challenging and this long speaks a lot to his talent and character."
With his World Crown victory, Chase Elliott joins Bobby Gill, Butch Miller, Darrell Waltrip, Gary St. Amant and Gary Balough as drivers who have won at least three of the four "Grand Slam" Super Late Model races - the Snowball Derby , the All-American 400, the Winchester 400 and the World Crown 300.
Two other drivers led multiple laps and appeared capable of winning the race but both were eliminated from before the checkered flag. Mike Garvey assumed the lead on lap 107 but jumped the restart on lap 110 and was immediately black-flagged for a stop and go for his haste. Teenage sensation Kyle Benjamin led the race on multiple occasions and as late as lap 240 before crashing out of the race on lap 289.
Back to Garvey.
Gresham Motorsports Park is unique in that it doesn't call off the restart if the leader jumps the cone. Unlike most short tracks, Gresham doesn't have a restart zone, but rather a restart line where the leader must be clocked-in at 35 mph or risk jumping the start and receiving a penalty.
Garvey was livid at the track's decision and stayed out for seven laps until being told that his next lap would not be counted unless he pulled in. Garvey conceded and lost two lops serving the penalty. He was eliminated from the race after the second segment when all cars one lap down or more were sent off the track for the final 50 laps.
Only eight cars finished the race.
Veteran tech man Ricky Brooks was the lead engineering official for the World Crown 300 and confirmed that Elliott's car passed after a thorough inspection, confirming Elliott's victory as Independence Day fireworks exploded over the Speedway.
Elliott's victory confirmed what we already knew. He's king of the short track world. Will his talents translate to NASCAR's national touring series once he makes his long-awaited debut? Tell us in the comments section.
2012 WORLD CROWN 300 RESULTS