Chase Elliott Wins Camping World SRX Season Finale At Nashville; Tony Stewart Wins Series Title


(Press release from Superstar Racing Experience)

Chase Elliott (center), Tony Stewart (left) and Bill Elliott (right) on the podium in victory lane after the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience event at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Saturday (Photo: Dylan Buell/SRX via Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott held off three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart to take the victory in the Camping World SRX Series season finale Saturday night at the Nashville 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 in Music City.

“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 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 one and missed that restart. Other than that, it was so much fun.”

As the two continued to race side-by-side, Chase crossed the stripe ahead of Bill on lap 55 and then never relinquished the point. That didn’t mean Chase wasn’t challenged.

Stewart, who clinched the Camping World SRX 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.”

Chase’s car number for the race was No. 94, which holds a special place for him and the entire Elliott family.

“My late cousin Casey Elliott ran the 94 for years and years,” Chase said. “It’s always special to run that number and glad we could get it into victory lane here at Nashville.”

Both Chase and Bill had prior experience at Nashville. Chase raced at the half-mile speedway countless times in a Super Late Model, winning the prestigious All American 400 in 2013. Bill competed in seven NASCAR Cup Series races at the track with a best finish of fifth in the 1983 Marty Robbins 420.

“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. 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,” said Bill, the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion who won the night’s first heat race by .218 of a second over Chase.

“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.”

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’ve raced here before and I kind of had an idea of what I needed, and I think that helped as much as anything,” Bill said. “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 won the Camping World SRX Series championship by 45 points over runner-up Ernie Francis Jr. Two feature race wins, June 19 at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway and June 26 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, propelled Stewart to the championship, as he was the only multi-race winner.

“Winning this championship is awesome,” Stewart said. “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.

“Most of all, I’m really proud of this trophy from Cold Hard Art from Indiana that made that thing. To be the last guy to win an IROC championship and the first guy to win a Camping World SRX championship means a lot.”

The Camping World SRX Series championship caps an impressive tally of titles for Stewart. He is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion (2002, 2005 and 2011), an IROC Series champion (2006), an NTT INDYCAR Series champion (1997), a four-time USAC champion (1994 Midget title and 1995 Triple Crown) and a three-time karting champion (1980, 1983 and 1987). Stewart is the first and only driver to win championships in stock cars, Indy cars and open-wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown cars.

“You hate to point race, but at the same time with the two heat races to get points and know there was still the main event, it was very realistic to get this locked up in the heats. That was the focus, to get that done and out of the way to where, then, during the main event we didn’t have to worry about it. If we got wrecked or spun out or whatever, we didn’t have to worry about it,” Stewart said.

“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.”

The race’s 77-lap distance was a nod to country music star and Grand Ole Opry regular Marty Robbins, who raced at the Fairgrounds in the late 1960s driving his iconic purple-and-yellow No. 777 Plymouth Belvedere, primarily in in the Modified and Sportsman classes.

“The ghost of Marty Robbins is here somewhere,” said Ray Evernham, co-founder of the Camping World SRX Series and the man who restored Robbins’ racecar. “His number was 777, so we picked 77 laps for the race distance, and then that caution flag with seven laps left, that was for Marty. People ask what all the cautions are for, and I say it’s to close the field up. And they ask when are you going to throw them, and I say whenever I feel like it.”

The Camping World SRX Series featured world-class drivers from an array of motorsports backgrounds competing in identically prepared racecars on some of the most iconic short tracks in America. The six-race short-track series culminated at Nashville after opening its season June 12 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. It then visited back-to-back dirt tracks at Knoxville and Eldora before returning to pavement July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis ahead of its penultimate event July 10 at Slinger (Wis.) Speedway.

Local all-star Doug Coby won at Stafford. Stewart swept the two dirt-track events. Road-racing specialist Francis scored a breakout win at Lucas Oil Raceway, and NTT INDYCAR Series veteran Marco Andretti won at Slinger to earn his first victory in a racecar featuring a roof and fenders.

“The part of it I’m really impressed with is how well this team has adapted, come together, to prepare cars every week and how much fun the drivers have had, which is something I was really hoping for – the drivers have fun and the fans have fun,” Evernham said. “And it has been very humbling the way this has been supported by the fans. We’ve put on a good show. I feel like we’ve done a good thing for some of the short tracks across America, and some of those towns that needed a little bit of an economic boost. You bring national television to a town, that’s good, and just the support that we’re getting from the fans. If they’re telling me it’s good, I’m happy, because it didn’t matter whether or not I thought it was good. And every time you have a good idea, you’re wondering if it’s really a good idea or just that I think it’s a good idea. But the fans like it and that’s been the best thing for me.”

Heat Race No. 1 (12 minutes, 25 laps):

Note: Starting lineup determined by random draw.

1.    Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led laps 1-17, 20-25)

2.    Chase Elliott (Started 2nd; led laps 18-19; completed 25/25 laps)

3.    Bobby Labonte (Started 3rd; completed 25/25 laps)

4.    Marco Andretti (Started 5th; completed 25/25 laps)

5.    Tony Stewart (Started 4th; completed 25/25 laps)

6.    Tony Kanaan (Started 7th; completed 25/25 laps)

7.    Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 6th; completed 25/25 laps)

8.    Paul Tracy (Started 10th; led laps completed 25/25 laps)

9.    Helio Castroneves (Started 9th; completed 25/25 laps)

10.  Hailie Deegan (Started 8th; completed 25/25 laps)

11.  Michael Waltrip (Started 12th; completed 25/25 laps)

12.  Willy T. Ribbs (Started 11th; completed 25/25 laps)

Heat Race No. 2 (12 minutes, 24 laps):

Note: Drivers’ finishing positions in Heat Race No. 1 were inverted for start of Heat Race No. 2.

1.    Helio Castroneves (Started 4th; led laps 16-24)

2.    Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 6th; completed 24/24 laps)

3.    Paul Tracy (Started 5th; completed 24/24 laps)

4.    Bobby Labonte (Started 10th; completed 24/24 laps)

5.    Tony Stewart (Started 8th; completed 24/24 laps)

6.    Bill Elliott (Started 12th; completed 24/24 laps)

7.    Tony Kanaan (Started 7th; completed 24/24 laps)

8.    Chase Elliott (Started 11th; completed 24/24 laps)

9.    Michael Waltrip (Started 2nd; led laps 1-5; completed 24/24 laps)

10.  Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 24/24 laps)

11.  Hailie Deegan (Started 3rd; completed 24/24 laps)

12.  Willy T. Ribbs (Started 1st; completed 24/24 laps)

Feature Results (77 laps):

Note: Starting lineup was based on average finishing positions in Heat Race Nos. 1-2.

1.    Chase Elliott (Started 4th; led laps 53, 55-77)

2.    Tony Stewart (Started 5th; completed 77/77 laps)

3.    Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led laps 1-52, 54; completed 77/77 laps)

4.    Bobby Labonte (Started 2nd; completed 77/77 laps)

5.    Paul Tracy (Started 7th; completed 77/77 laps)

6.    Ernie Francis Jr. (Started 3rd; completed 77/77 laps)

7.    Michael Waltrip (Started 10th; completed 77/77 laps)

8.    Tony Kanaan (Started 8th; completed 77/77 laps)

9.    Helio Castroneves (Started 6th; completed 77/77 laps)

10.  Hailie Deegan (Started 11th; completed 77/77 laps)

11.  Marco Andretti (Started 9th; completed 77/77 laps)

12.  Willy T. Ribbs (Started 12th; completed 56/77 laps)

Camping World 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)

 Note: Points are awarded in both heats and the feature. In each heat, the winner receives a maximum of 12 points. Second place earns 11 points with every position in descending order receiving one fewer point, with the 12th-place finisher earning one point. Points increase in the feature, with the winner receiving 25 points, second place 22 points, third place 20 points, fourth place 18 points, fifth place 16 points, sixth place 14 points, seventh place 12 points, eighth place 10 points, ninth place eight points, 10th place six points, 11th place four points and 12th place two points.

Comments

  1. This was fun.

    Looking forward to the next season.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed all 6 of these races! Hope they keep it going next year, with another trip to Stafford of course.

    Now I can go back to leaving the house on Saturday nights!

  3. If you’re a Bill and Chase Elliot fan you must have been in hog heaven since most of the two hours was devoted to them. It would have been too much but they ran in front and Bill had his best race by far so it made sense. Deegan and Tracy had a dust up during the week on social media that the broadcast failed to use as a point of interest but Deegan never was competitive and no story to milk on the track.
    Santos, Santos, Santos. There’s no questioning fan loyalty because there is no wrong view but the argument that he’s some kind of driving wizard is over. He failed in the SRX series while the 17 year old kid excelled and Chase Elliot put an exclamation point on on it. Here’s what Santos is mostly…….smart. A very good driver but there are tons of good drivers. Not the driving savant so many in the Northeast claim but a guy that picks the right rides and more importantly makes them better.
    Just this afternoon Chase Elliot is making an impassioned plea for NASCAR to bring a race to the Nashville Fairgrounds. Say’s the fans were crazy hyped and they deserve a race. Drivers, gotta love em. Place holds 15000 with the big track in the same area and Elliot want’s Nascar to put a race on in a place that’s too small, has a bad racing surface and doesn’t hold many people. First sell out since the 1970’s they said. Good luck with that. Tell Elliot to give back a large portion of his super star pay for the race and see how enthusiastic he is.
    Apparently the series is already signed for a second season. The viewing numbers not off the charts but met expectations and never trailed off. The Nashville race was packed and energy sky high. It’s interesting they never had any rules just the benevolent dictatorship of Ray Evernham and aside from a trophy the winners reward for winning not even posted. A lot about the SRX series was unknown as they made things up as they went and it was very refreshing. The racing gods were certainly with the SRX series with regard to weather. We can’t put two days together without rain and not one of the scheduled SRX events hampered by rain.
    Ray Evernham has a good relationship with the Arutes and that’s why the first race was at Stafford. Next year they will want to be moving on to other tracks in other parts of the country and add road racing. It will take a miracle to include Stafford next season in my view but if there’s a pitch to be made the Arute’s can do it and Evernham will certainly listen.

  4. I was hoping for a SRX visit to the Thompson oval.

  5. “Santos, Santos, Santos. There’s no questioning fan loyalty because there is no wrong view but the argument that he’s some kind of driving wizard is over. He failed in the SRX series while the 17 year old kid excelled and Chase Elliot put an exclamation point on on it”
    “Not the driving savant so many in the Northeast claim”

    It’s not just a Northeastern thing… Read the answer to the first question here:
    https://racer.com/2018/12/05/robin-millers-mailbag-for-december-5-presented-by-honda-racing-hpd/

    The SRX cars are probably closest to a late model. It’s no shock that drivers with experience in similar cars on similar short tracks would do well in them, just as it wasn’t a shock seeing Tony Stewart do so well on dirt.

  6. Why would I harp on Santos so often and especially a reach like this taking a shot with his appearance in SRX so far in the rear view mirror. It’s for one reason only to troll for reactions and see if they have legs. The response with a link was a good one although the 2018 date a bit long in the tooth.
    Finding reasons for Santos to underperform in SRX if you’re and admirer is perfectly logical and identifying the fact that he is not that familiar with the type of full bodied cars like SRX is good direction to go in. While it provides logic for the underperformance unfortunately it does nothing to promote the general feeling that the man is the swiss army knife of racers. Moreover the notion that the adjustment to the SRX car which by all accounts had it’s own unique driving characteristics was minimized for Coby, Fenhaus Elliot and include Deegan’s dirt performance as well is a bit sketchy. You could argue affectively that the simple presence of fenders for drivers in vastly dissimilar cars from SRX and various points in their careers recent and distant is a reach at best and undermines what each accomplished.
    In the recent race at Loudon where the lions share of local fans picked Santos to win is the point I was trying to make. In a car where the owners were just coming back from a hiatus going against teams that are well funded and do it all the time with great success. If you were betting actual money would you make the same bet?
    Frankly I don’t think there is any reason to react adversely to my main point about Santos. All I’m saying is he’s a really good driver in a sport with a whole lot of really good drivers. Can he simply show up, work magic and take a marginal car to victory lane the answer is obviously no. What he is in my view is a really smart guy, charismatic that engenders loyalty in a large group around him. He identifies great racing opportunities and with his skills in set ups and handling maximizes the opportunities. I just don’t see how that is insulting him.
    A larger percentage of his fans think he should be at a higher level and that it’s some kind of injustice he’s stuck where he is. First he’s making a living where he is, he wins a lot of races where he is and there’s just a possibility he may not have some quality that is required to race at the higher levels. I don’t know that but neither do his loyal fans now it doesn’t exist. Then again he very well could have all the skills required it just boils down to too many good drivers out there competing for two few top tier slots.
    The SRX gig was pass/fail. Coby passed and has gotten an opportunity that would not otherwise have been presented to him. Santos for whatever reason failed to cash in on the opportunity and remains where he is for the time being. It’s not that bad a place to be.

  7. I know Camping World said they would be back as a major sponsor. Camping World has been a great supporter of motor sports. I watched most of every race. My only request for next year is I would like to see the car count get up a little and have the drivers be a little more consistent. Somewhere around 16 to 18 cars per event. Have 4 back ups ready for Paul Tracy. and whoever he gets into. Keep the drivers pretty consistent just rotate the local hero from track to track. They had heros ringers rotating, it seemed like a quarter of the field was different week to week. I enjoyed the mix of tracks. I wouldnt change much there. Overall by the crowds at the tracks I would say its been a home run. I enjoyed the shows. 2 hours of quality entertainment. Noy much down time at all. Drone footage, in car interviews while the drivers are racing. I dont know how they ran 6 consecutive weeks and never had a weather issue. Absolutely amazing luck there. Great series. Lets hope Nascar doesnt buy them and muck it alll up.

  8. Fast Eddie says

    When all drivers are equally unfamiliar wit a given racecar, the one driver with track time has a decided advantage. When one driver might have some familiarity with the track, and all others are familiar with the car, it becomes a matter of what adaptation occurs first; the one driver to the car, or the rest of the drivers familiar with the cars to the track. Not being for or against anyone, although I am a Santos fan, I think this would have been the same odds for any two Modified drivers in this circumstance. I think Coby had a bigger advantage than Santos did in their respective races. The other drivers had a lot more time in the cars by the time it was Bobby’s turn to compete. All drivers were “rookies” to the cars at Stafford. If the choices were opposite, I think the results would have been similar. Santos would have run really well at Stafford, and Coby would have been just OK in his race.

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