Chase Elliott goes from first to last to first for All-American 400 win

Chris Owens

Fast qualifier Chase Elliott was forced to start in the back, but was where he needed to be at the end for victory in the only of the big four super late model races he had yet to win. The Southern Super Series championship came down to the wire as well.

NASHVILLE -- Dawsonville, Georgia's Chase Elliott has won the Snowball Derby, Winchester 400 and World Crown; and now adds the All-American 400 as well as the trademark Gibson guitar trophy for winning at the Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville to his growing accolades.

"I can't believe it.  To be in position at the end of these races is the biggest thing, and just to be around is so hard to do.  I was really a little worried about our car.  I didn't think we were where we needed to be in practice, but we made some good adjustments and we were able to be in position at the end.  That's what counted," recapped Elliott following 300 laps of Southern Super Series super late model racing.

Elliott qualified fastest, but the team needed to change a broken rear track bar following qualifying and by the rulebook had to start from the rear of the 36 car field.  The Ricky Turner-led team used pit strategy to get back into contention and shot into the lead past Hunter Robbins on lap 271, never looking back.

After Elliott was forced to the back initially, Donnie Wilson would lead the field to the start and was the dominant car for much of the race.  A slow final pit stop caused the Oklahoma veteran, who has been snake-bit from victory lane in a major super late model race in the last decade, to use up his car fighting his way toward the front and then would later fade to finish tenth.

The Southern Super Series championship changed outcomes late in the race when point leader Bubba Pollard was caught up in a multi-car wreck in turn one following a restart with twenty laps to go and would be done for the night.

Daniel Hemric surged to a second place finish on fresh tires and became the inaugural Southern Super Series champion by one point over Pollard.

"I hate to say we were disappointed, but I hate to see Bubba go out like that and I would really like to be holding that guitar," explained a bittersweet Hemric upon initial reaction despite being announced as the champion.

"It wasn't meant to be I guess," was Pollard's simple response to coming so close to the title.

Pollard fought adversity early on when they were forced to change a shock and fell a lap down.  He had climbed his way back up into the top ten and in a safe position until Kyle Benjamin got into the back of him on the restart heading into turn one.

One of the favorites heading into the race was 2012 Snowball Derby and 2013 Winchester 400 winner Erik Jones; however, he never appeared to be a factor for the win and was eliminated from contention in the same wreck as Pollard.

"As the race progressed and through the first run I kind of realized we were in a little bit of trouble.  Just a disappointing day overall coming from Winchester on a high to definitely an ultimate low here," said Jones.

Robbins started from the front row and ran toward the front all night, ending up with a respectable third place finish in the Ronnie Sanders-owned machine.

Johnny VanDoorn and Augie Grill picked up where they left off at the Winchester 400 and found themselves battling for the lead late in the going.  Being on older tires would not work to their advantage and they would round out the top five in the final finishing order.  Other notable top ten finishers included 2012 All-American 400 winner Ross Kenseth in sixth and 2013 World Crown 300 winner Preston Peltier in seventh.

Most of the super late model teams will use the remainder of the month of November to prepare for the 46th annual Snowball Derby, which will take place on Sunday, December 8 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

Full results can be found below:

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Daniel Hemric
  3. Hunter Robbins
  4. Johnny VanDoorn
  5. Augie Grill
  6. Ross Kenseth
  7. Preston Peltier
  8. Chad Finley
  9. Trey Mitchell
  10. Donnie Wilson
  11. Eddie Van Meter
  12. Stephen Nasse
  13. Cody Coughlin
  14. T.J. Reaid
  15. Mark Kraus
  16. Erik Jones
  17. Kyle Benjamin
  18. Joseph Meyer
  19. Eddie Hoffman
  20. Bubba Pollard
  21. Mason Mingus
  22. Anderson Bowen
  23. Tyler Speer
  24. Jordan Sims
  25. Willie Allen
  26. Allen Karnes
  27. Austin Theriault
  28. John Hunter Nemechek
  29. Casey Roderick
  30. Spencer Davis
  31. Stacey Crain
  32. Johnny Brazier
  33. Michael House
  34. Dennis Schoenfeld
  35. Mike Garvey
  36. Lonnie Somerville

Complete All-American 400 coverage can be found on SB Nation's Ranting and Raving Short Track Blog.

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