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Elliott takes third Nationwide win of 2014

Talented rookie Chase Elliott wins again with victory in Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
CLICK: Full race results and Nationwide Series championship standings.

As the saying goes, once might be happenstance and twice coincidence, but a third time means enemy action. And on Saturday night, 18-year-old NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Chase Elliott put his championship campaign intentions beyond doubt when he claimed this third victory of 2014 on Saturday night as he beat Trevor Bayne to the finish line in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

"This is an unbelievable night," said Elliott. "We had an awesome race going."

Amazingly, he had never raced this circuit before, but proved once again just what a phenomenally quick study he is: "I try to make the most of my practice laps. They gave me a good car, that gives me time to learn the track in practice," he explained.

"I did have some questions that I asked, and I definitely think that helped tonight," he added. "So thankful to have a couple great teammates [Kasey Kahne and Regan Smith] and good to have something to lean back on with those guys."

Elliott started the race from third place behind Brian Scott and Ty Dillon. Scott had earlier claimed pole for the fourth time in 160 NASCAR Nationwide Series after his final qualifying lap of 30.370s (177.807mph) bettered that of Dillon by 0.028s on the 1.5-mile speedway. Scott led for the first 20 laps before Elliott took charge, the first of a race-high 85 laps out in front of the race which included a final unbroken run of 23 laps to the chequered flag for the youngster.

"We all, as a team, we completed our task tonight and that was the difference," said Elliott in victory lane. "We were fortunate enough to be in contention on that last pit stop; the guys busted their butts for me and that was the deciding factor."

Having gone for an off-sync race strategy to the rest of the race leaders, Trevor Bayne felt that he'd had the edge over Elliott toward the end but simply ran out of laps to do anything about it: "That's probably the strongest weekend we've had in a while. Had it stayed green for another 15, we might have had it, but that's 15 laps we'll never know about."

Elliott and Bayne finished well clear of the rest of the field, with Kyle Larson coming in third over nine seconds off the race winner.

"I thought we had a real good car," Larson said. "I had some fun, just frustrating coming in third when I thought we had a real good chance to win."

Elliott's JR Motorsports team mate finished in fourth place, despite brushing the wall while passing Scott with 20 laps to go, which took enough of an edge off the #5 car to prevent it making a bid for the lead at the crucial stage. Scott ended the race in sixth place just behind Ty Dillon.

There were just two cautions this week, with a Sam Hornish's blown engine just eight laps into the race accounting for one when it lay down oil on the track, and a debris caution on lap 123 the only other interruption to proceedings.

Victory at Chicagoland puts Chase Elliott back at the top of the Nationwide Series championship standings by seven points over Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler after Smith had an anonymous evening of it mired in the midfield with a loose race car, starting in 15th place and finishing in 16th. In the owners' championship, the #54 Joe Gibbs Racing car driven by Sam Hornish Jr. remains in front despite its early retirement with engine issues, but its margin over the #22 Penske is now down to just five points.

Despite the fact that this a rare week off for the Sprint Cup Series, few regulars decided to top up their schedule with an extra Nationwide outing - the only Cup regulars in action on Saturday night were Kahne and Larson. The Camping World Truck Series is also on hiatus this weekend, enabling the most recent winner Erik Jones to pick up an outing in the Joe Gibbs Racing #20 and get a taste for the next rung on the ladder. He finished his first Nationwide race in seventh place just ahead of Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney and Elliott Sadler.

It was definitely a learning experience for me and everybody involved," said Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsport in the Truck Series. "I feel like I learned a lot the whole night and really picked up on some things that will help me through the next couple."

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Nationwide Series championship standings.



Related Pictures

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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, drive driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinios.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, puts the winner`s sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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