Chase Elliott makes impassioned plea to bring Cup Series back to Nashville Fairgrounds

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NASCAR on NBC Sports 18 July, 2021 - 01:30pm 18 views

Who won the SRX race yesterday?

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. RACERChase Elliott wins SRX season finale at Nashville, Stewart takes title

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Superstar Racing Experience co-founder Ray Evernham talks to Fox News Autos about the new series, which will pit all-star drivers from around the racing world against each other in identical cars

Chase Elliott is two for two against dad.

The Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR driver won the SRX (Superstar Racing Experience) season finale at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday night ahead of Tony Stewart, his father Bill Elliott and an all-star field that included Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti.

Chase and Bill had previously faced off in a late model race in Alabama in 2013 that Chase won and Bill finished fourth in.

The final event in the six-race SRX series that was created by Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham this year drew 14,000 spectators to the historic track, which is currently under consideration for a future NASCAR Cup Series race. Organizers said it was the highest-attended event at the speedway since the 1970s. The aging venue, which is the second-oldest continually operated track in the U.S., last hosted the top series in 1984.

Chase was taking part as a guest racer along with up and coming NASCAR start Hailie Deegan. while Bill and Stewart are full-time SRX competitors. Veteran drivers Willy T. Ribbs, Paul Tracy and Michael Waltrip were also in the 12-car lineup.

Stewart claimed the season title with two wins and two third-place finishes to go with his runner-up showing in Nashville.

The series was fashioned after the defunct International Race  of Champions and is focused on short oval tracks, including Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway and Wisconsin's Slinger Speedway, and broadcast live on CBS.

A second season is planned for the summer of 2022.

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Chase Elliott, Bill Elliott have a night to remember at Nashville SRX season finale

The Athletic 18 July, 2021 - 04:19pm

Chase Elliott, Bill Elliott have a night to remember at Nashville SRX season finale

SRX Racing Final Race | FRAM

CBS Sports HQ 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

Tony Stewart Crowned As The First-Ever SRX Champion

Jalopnik 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

At the top of the list here is fan feedback. After its first race, series officials heard what fans had to say about the paint schemes of the cars (it was hard to read driver names) and feature length — and SRX actually addressed those specific problems. It didn’t dick around and slap a band-aid on it by introducing some completely new rule that never actually solved the concerns. It listened and fixed the exact issues in question, which was pretty damn refreshing to see.

I hope that next year they lean even harder into the "go see local racing" message. 

Camping World SRX Series brings thousands of people to Nashville fairgrounds

NewsChannel5.com 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Camping World SRX series brings 14,000 people to the Nashville Fairgrounds.

Grandstand tickets were sold out as thousands of people gathered at the fairgrounds to see fast cars!

The Camping World SRX Series brought its finale to Music City. It's part of a six race season.

Fans tell me they were excited to see big names like NASCAR champion Chase Elliott and his father Bill Elliott in the show.

"It's so exciting as a competitor who races for local events its just so exciting to see big crowds and the atmosphere," said racing fan Chad Barker.

Fans say they're even more thrilled to have big events making a comeback.

Son knows best: NASCAR champ Chase Elliott bests dad, Bill, Tony Stewart at Fairgrounds race

Tennessean 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway seemed like a fitting place for the Elliotts to start their engines in the last race of the first season of the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience Series, which also featured Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti, among others.

Chase, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, is no stranger to the track, which he raced on with some success as a teenager and has championed for inclusion in the Cup Series schedule. 

"No. 1 was having a chance to race with dad," Chase said of his decision to participate Saturday, a day before he traveled to New Hampshire for his regular Cup job. "And Tony, two guys I've looked up to

"Don't let him lie to you, it was actually a bar fight last week," Chase said with a laugh of his dad's injury.

Chase's boss Rick Hendrick gave dad the nod before the race. Chase proved him wrong by beating Stewart to the finish line, with dad finishing third, meaning father and son shared the podium afterward.

"I'd like to prove differently, but we'll see," Bill said of Hendrick's prediction that son would beat father. "I would say the odds are in (Chase's) favor."

Chase raised the checkered flag as he emerged from his car and immediately addressed the crowd - and his father.

"Did ya'll have fun tonight?" he asked during his postrace interview. "I got to race against two of my heroes. Those are moments I'll cherish forever.

Father and son spent a lot of time near each other no sooner than Nashville Mayor r John Cooper instructed drivers to start their engines. Bill, in his purple No. 9, left most of the field behind, with Chase in his gray No. 94 car, a nod to his cousin Casey Elliott, who died of cancer at 21 in 1996, chasing from behind. 

"It was a lot of fun," Bill said. "I knew Chase was going to be hard to beat. ... He knows how to get it to the end."

"Go show support in person, go be there, go race," he said. "I hope this weekend continues to add to the conversation and the positivity of what a Cup race would do for that city and how much fun it would be."

Still, son trying to beat dad, and dad trying to beat son, was the main objective, though Chase stressed trash talk leading up to Saturday was minimal, if at all.

"We haven't had a chance to race against each other much over the years," Chase said. "I have no question that we both want to beat each other. ... Just to be able to share the same (type) of car. I'm curious to see what my comments are versus his."

Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson score big wins ahead of New Hampshire Cup race

NASCAR on NBC Sports 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

Elliott, the reigning Cup champion, won Saturday night’s SRX Racing finale at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, racing against his father for only the second time.

Tony Stewart finished second and Bill Elliott placed third.

“I had a ball. I got to race against two of my heroes,” Chase Elliott said after the event. “I got to race against Dad there throughout the race and those are moments I will cherish forever. Just super thankful to be here.”

“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.”

— Camping World SRX Series (@SRXracing) July 18, 2021

Larson won the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway on Saturday night, claiming $175,000. The event was rescheduled from last year after it was postponed by the pandemic.

It is his first crown jewel event in the World of Outlaws. He started ninth in the 24-car field and was in the lead by the halfway point in the 40-lap feature on the Ohio dirt track.

“This is unbelievable,” Larson said after the race. “This year has been so up-and-down, I didn’t think we’d be in victory lane after that flip. It’s just awesome to win a Crown Jewel in general.”

Sheldon Haudenschild was second. Carson Macedo placed third.

In today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Elliott starts third and Larson starts 10th.

. @dirtvision REPLAY: @KyleLarsonRacin climbs atop the wing with son, Owen and is officially crowned KING Kyle the 37th! #KingsRoyal pic.twitter.com/lIDqEVVM3G

— World of Outlaws (@WorldofOutlaws) July 18, 2021

SRX Race 6 takeaways: Like father, like son, as Elliotts excel in season finale at Nashville

CBS Sports 18 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

With 19 NASCAR Most Popular Driver awards between them, there's no doubt who delivered a sellout crowd for the SRX season finale. Bill and Chase Elliott put on a show at the Nashville Fairgrounds that had some 14,000 fans cheering from start to finish. 

The Elliotts were the only drivers to lead in both Heat 1 and the Main Event. For most of the night, it looked like dad was in position to beat his son until a slip on a late restart opened the door with 22 laps remaining. 

"I just rolled up the hill," Bill Elliott said. "I lost my drive up off and I was really having a hard time controlling my wheel spin up off the corner." 

That was just enough for Chase, a former winner at Nashville in the prestigious All-American 400, to get out front and cruise to the win over Tony Stewart. His father held on for third, a season-best SRX finish in a storybook ending for his SRX Local All-Star son (who also happens to be the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion). 

The excitement over the Elliotts wasn't the only buzz to come out of Nashville. Here's a closer look at their impact among five takeaways from SRX's season finale. 

The SRX season had been a disaster for Awesome Bill heading into the final race. He'd never finished higher than ninth in any main event, injured his hand in a wreck at Eldora Speedway and experienced mechanical problems in back-to-back weeks driving the No. 9. 

For Nashville, SRX founder Ray Evernham gave Elliott the option to switch to a backup car. Tony Stewart then gifted Elliott the pole for Heat 1 to start alongside his son. The stage was set for the 1988 Cup Series champion to have the best possible chance at success. 

Bill delivered, driving like a man possessed over the course of all three races. After leading just one lap in the first five weeks, he led a Nashville-high 77 Saturday night while snagging a Heat 1 win. 

"I don't know who lit a fire under him," Chase said about his dad after the race. "I had not seen that in him in years. It was amazing and a lot of fun … those are moments I will cherish forever." 

Could it be that's the last time we'll see Bill behind the wheel of a race car? He wouldn't commit either way but, at age 65, he's got nothing left to prove. If it is the final race, what a way to go out in just the second time ever he's raced against son Chase in a major event. 

"For me, I finally got what I wanted out of a racecar and I felt good out there," Elliott said. "I thought, I'm on Medicare and I'm trying to keep up with these young kids." 

The SRX title was anti-climactic for much of the season as Stewart won two of the first three races. Clinching the championship by the end of Heat 1, the three-time NASCAR Cup champion got to lay back and have fun while watching Bill and Chase go at it up in front of him. 

"How could you ask for more than to finish between two Elliotts?" Stewart said after winding up second. "That's pretty badass in itself." 

I'm sure he feels the same about the SRX title some 15 years after winning the last International Race of Champions title (what this series was modeled after). Some five years after retiring from NASCAR, Stewart has to feel good about showing the racing audience he's still got plenty left in the tank at age 50.  

"This series has every variable that you wanted and looked for," Stewart said. "You had good racing, you had different winners, you had awesome crew chiefs, awesome ringers, awesome local track champions." 

They'll all be gunning after Stewart again for the title come 2022. 

OK, so it's hard to call Chase the local guy considering his NASCAR Cup pedigree. But technically, he notched the second win in six races for a local All-Star rotation hired to moonlight against the series regulars. 

Their final tally is pretty impressive, Doug Coby setting the stage with a dominant win in the first weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway. Two of the other locals finished second in the main (Kody Swanson, Luke Fenhaus) as their point totals combined would have left them runner-up in the points chase behind Stewart. 

It's an idea that paid off handsomely and boosted the profile of the local short tracks these drivers come from. 

Before SRX, younger fans simply knew Tracy as the analyst for NBC IndyCar broadcasts. But a six-race stint running this series brought back old memories of how he was the bad boy of American open-wheel racing back in the day. 

Tracy was the only driver to be involved in a wreck all six weekends as his 15 total incidents led the SRX series by a country mile. In the process, he angered everyone from mild-mannered Bobby Labonte to up-and-coming teenager Hailie Deegan. The latter caused an Instagram back-and-forth that lasted for days after last weekend's race at Slinger Speedway, forcing a come-to-Jesus moment in the SRX hauler to set the record straight before Nashville. 

Looking back, Tracy didn't have a lot of on-track success (no wins) but he gave SRX a more important ingredient it needed for success: a villain willing to accept the drama and boos that come with it. 

We've already seen three drivers benefit from wins in SRX main events. Coby earned himself a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opportunity at Bristol Motor Speedway in September. Ernie Francis, Jr., who ran second in the points chase, has NASCAR buzzing about him while he and Willy T. Ribbs are pushing IndyCar. Marco Andretti found a second wind with a racing career that was winding down before SRX; now, he's negotiating for a part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series ride. 

Chase's victory put the icing on the cake on a different way. One, it was an olive branch from NASCAR, who had spent the summer giving this all-star series the cold shoulder. Two, his presence helped NASCAR out in putting eyes on a Fairgrounds track they're desperate to renovate and bring back to the Cup Series schedule for the first time since 1984. 

There's still a lot of issues to get the track NASCAR ready (parking alone is a big one) but there's no better salesman to get the neighborhood on board than your sport's most popular driver. For that, NASCAR owes SRX a debt of gratitude. 

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Chase Elliott wins SRX finale as Stewart claims series title

Motorsport.com 18 July, 2021 - 12:27pm

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.

“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 of 77 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 (Turn) 1 and missed that restart. Other than that, it was so much fun.”

Chase and Bill Elliott, SRX Nashville

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 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,” Bill said.

“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.

“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.”

Stewart, who clinched the inaugural 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.

“Winning this championship is awesome. 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.”

Race winner Chase Elliot, SRX Nashville

Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), founded by Stewart, Ray Evernham, Sandy Montag and George Pyne, featured six short track races on a mix of pavement and dirt with drivers running identical cars.

1. Chase Elliott (Started 4th; led 24 of 77 laps)

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

3. Bill Elliott (Started 1st; led 53 of 77 laps)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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