Chase Elliott scores surprising Winchester 400 pole

The 2010 winner is almost always around at the end, but is not usually the driver to beat in qualifying. That changed late in the session on Saturday.

Dawsonville, Georgia driver Chase Elliott has not failed to finish a single lap of competition in the annual Winchester 400 in the last three years. He is a favorite to win no matter which late model race he enters; however, he has never started higher than sixth in a Winchester 400. Things will be different in 2013 as he will start from the pole after bettering Johnny VanDoorn's fastest lap with a time of 15.361 seconds.

"I felt like the lap wasn't that good, but I really got to hand it to Ricky (Turner) and everybody. We've been kind of up and down," Elliott continued on referring to the fact that they were not consistently toward the top of the charts throughout both days of practice.

Always looking for improvement, the story will still be the same on race day no matter where he would have qualified.

"Just want to focus on being there when it counts," the methodical Elliott remarked.

This is already a nice showing for new sponsor Rocky Ridge Custom Trucks, which will be on board with Chase for this race as well as the All American 400 and Snowball Derby.

Johnny Van Doorn may have missed the pole, but still has his sights set on the potentially large paycheck on Sunday. His plan continues to be very simple.

"Stay out of trouble, keep the fenders on the car, make good adjustments, and get it to the end," the Michigan former CRA champion stated.

Possibly the feel good story in qualifying was Terry Fisher Jr., who missed a front row starting spot by one-thousandth of a second.

"It was pretty much a big surprise. In practice we put on a new set of tires and were like tenth quick. We didn't have much speed in the car. I don't know where that lap came from, but I've got a lot of laps around here," a surprised but confident Fisher said later in the evening.

Fisher was also elated after leading the "Run for the Gun 50" Top Speed Modified Tour race flag-to-flag, which was overshadowed by a major wreck that sent Bill Burba's car flipping outside the track Saturday night. Luckily Burba was okay, but his beyond torn up car most likely will never see a track again.

Now the strategy shifts to 400 laps on Sunday.

"I'm going to see if I can try to fall into position and ride for the first 300. Try and stay up front, out of trouble, and out of the mess, and hopefully nothing goes wrong," Fisher noted.

Race day begins with a 10:15 drivers meeting, and an autograph session at 12:30. The race the entire weekend leads up to will get underway at 2:00.

Starting lineup for the Winchester 400 can be found below:

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Johnny VanDoorn
  3. Terry Fisher Jr.
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Augie Grill
  6. Derrick Griffin
  7. Bubba Pollard
  8. Anderson Bowen
  9. Daniel Hemric
  10. Brandon Hermiller
  11. Stephen Nasse
  12. T.J. Reaid
  13. Cody Coughlin
  14. Austin Theriault
  15. Jeff Fultz
  16. Kyle Benjamin
  17. Martin Latulippe
  18. Scott Neal
  19. Ross Kenseth
  20. Jason Dietsch
  21. Travis Braden
  22. Evan Jackson
  23. Mason Mingus
  24. Joe Beaver
  25. Donnie Wilson
  26. Eddie Van Meter
  27. Preston Peltier
  28. Nick Gullatta
  29. Colin Nickolai
  30. Brandon Oakley
  31. Brett Robinson
  32. Rick Turner
  33. Justin Alsip
  34. Ali Kern
  35. Tommy St. John
  36. Kenny Tweedy
  37. Jay Niewiek

First to last was separated by 0.684 seconds.

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