Chase Elliott wins SRX finale in Nashville as Tony Stewart takes season title


Fox News 18 July, 2021 - 09:33am 9 views

Who won the SRX race at Nashville?

After racing his father up front for much of the night, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott was able to hold off Tony Stewart in the final laps to win the SRX finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. CBSSports.comSRX at Nashville results: Chase Elliott wins main event as Tony Stewart takes home series championship

Chase Elliott wins SRX season finale at Nashville, Stewart takes title

RACER 18 July, 2021 - 12:00pm


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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.”

A season to remember!

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

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.

Chase Elliott wins in Music City!!! @SRXRacing

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 18, 2021

“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.”

It's an all-out father vs. son battle. @SRXracing

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 18, 2021

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.”

All the races were broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and streamed on Paramount+ Premium.

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Chase Elliott Holds Off Father Bill, Champion Stewart for SRX Win at Nashville 17 July, 2021 - 09:32pm

Chase Elliott made the most of his one race cameo in the 2021 SRX Series by holding off series champion Tony Stewart to win the final race of the season at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion spent most of the feature running in second position behind father Bill Elliott. On a restart with 23 laps to go, the younger Elliott got by the elder Elliott after the 1988 Cup champion rode too high into turn 1. Bill Elliott was able to recover and finish third.

“Man, it was so much fun,” Chase Elliott told CBS Sports after the race. “Man, I had a ball, got to race against two of my heroes. I got to race against Dad there throughout the race. Those are moments I’ll cherish forever.”

"I got to race against two of my heroes. I got to race against Dad there throughout the race. Those are moments I'll cherish forever."

Chase Elliott reacts to his first @SRXracing win.

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 18, 2021

“I don’t know what lit a fire under him tonight but he was as aggressive as I’ve seen him in years,” Elliott said about racing with his dad Bill. “It was amazing and a lot of fun. I thought it was going to be between he and I, and I think he just got a little high into (turn) 1 and missed that restart. But other than that it was so much fun. Obviously a special number too, my late cousin Casey Elliott ran the No. 94 for years and years. Always special to run that number, and glad we could get it in victory lane.”

The championship battle wasn’t very close, due to just how large of a lead Stewart had on the rest of the field. Stewart clinched it by virtue of finishing fifth in heat one.

.@TonyStewart reacts to becoming the first-ever @SRXracing points champion.

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 18, 2021

Bobby Labonte spent most of the night in the top four and ended up finishing there in both heats and the feature, placing fourth overall. Paul Tracy finished fifth after being involved in the final caution, after he and Marco Andretti got together in turn 1 with five laps to go. Andretti finished 11th overall.

Ernie Francis Jr. ended up sixth after coming up runner-up to Stewart in the points race. Michael Waltrip concluded the first season of SRX in seventh, Tony Kanaan finished eighth, and Helio Castroneves faded late to finish the race in ninth. Hailie Deegan, the other guest driver in this race, quietly finished 10th.

Rounding out the field was Willy T. Ribbs, the only driver not to finish the feature after spinning out late in the race.

There were five cautions in the 77 lap race, two for the two incidents outlined above and three competition cautions.

Bill Elliott won this heat after leading almost all of it. He rode away from Chase Elliott after starting on the pole, then held off his son in a side-by-side battle after the mid-heat competition caution.

Waltrip led the early portion of this race. but Castroneves got by the two-time Daytona 500 champion and cruised away from the field. Even after the mid-heat competition caution, Castroneves still beat Francis Jr. by 2.435 seconds.

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If anyone thought Stewart wasn’t going to be the series champion before the first car ever hit the track, they were living in La-La land. If anyone thinks Chase wasn’t holding back and letting Dad lead a bunch of laps last night, they are living in La-La land. It may be fun for the drivers, but I have reservations as to the legitimacy of the competition. But Hey.. I watched every race, and the ratings have been okay, so whatever…

SRX Results: July 17, 2021 (Nashville Fairgrounds) - Racing News

Racing News 17 July, 2021 - 08:47pm

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It's probably too late to turn back now anyway.

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Like a mummy at night fightin' with bright lightnin'.

I'm not here to save you. I'm just here for the ride. So, let me entertain you and everything will be fine.

View SRX Series results from Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway below.

The grandstands are sold out at the 0.596-mi short track. It’s the largest crowd at the speedway since the 1970’s.

Bill Elliott will roll from the pole position while Bobby Labonte completes the front row. 77 laps of short track racing are up next…

Green flag, Bill Elliott leads on the inside into turn one. Labonte holds 2nd off turn two.

Lap 3, Castroneves looks to the outside of Chase Elliott into turn one. Elliott doesn’t know he’s there and shoves him in the wall off turn two. They both continue with little damage.

Castroneves pulls the same move, clear. Castroneves to 4th.

Lap 8, Castroneves is coming to the front! He drives to the outside of Ernie Francis Jr. Francis Jr leaves the lane open off the corner, Castroneves to 3rd.

Lap 10, he’s not done. Castroneves has it rolling on the outside lane and he clears Bobby Labonte for 2nd.

Lap 14, Castroneves looks to the outside of Bill Elliott for the race lead. Elliott moves up a lane to block. Most of the field is migrating to the middle lane.

Lap 25, Bill Elliott remains in the middle lane. Castroneves has a look on the inside but he can’t get the drive off the corner.

Lap 26, the green flag lap limit has been hit and the caution is out.

Green, Bill Elliott is clear into turn one. Chase Elliott and Castroneves run side by side for 2nd. Chase clears him via the inside lane.

Lap 40, Stewart works by Castroneves for 3rd. Castroneves is fading after possibly burning the tires off.

Lap 45, Chase Elliott is on the bumper of Bill Elliott in the battle for the lead. Bill runs the middle lane. Chase runs in his tracks.

Lap 50, the green flag limit has been reached and the caution is back out.

Green, Bill Elliott gets the jump on the outside lane and hes clear into turn one. Bill Elliott runs wide into turn one! He falls to 4th as he gathers it up. Chase Elliott to the lead.

Ernie Francis Jr brushes the wall behind them. Willy T Ribbs locks up the brakes and spins into the inside wall. The caution flag returns.

Green, Chase Elliott leads Stewart off turn two.

12 to go, Stewart looks inside of Chase Elliott for the lead. Elliott holds it with ease as Elliott stays in the middle lane.

7 to go, the caution is out as the green flag lap limit has been hit.

Green, Chase Elliott drives it deep to the bottom in turn one and he narrowly clears Stewart off turn two.

5 to go, Paul Tracy looks inside of Marco Andretti. Andretti cuts across his nose and spins himself out.

Green, Chase Elliott clears Stewart before turn one. Bill Elliott holds 3rd.

4 to go, Tracy and Labonte make contact off turn two for 4th but Labonte holds the spot for now.

2 to go, Chase Elliott leads Stewart by a car length.

1 to go, Stewart spins the tires off turn four coming to the white flag. Elliott opens the gap.

Chase Elliott wins at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway!

The following includes all on-track action:

-The starting lineup feat heat 1 is set via a random draw.

Heat 1 (12 Minutes) : 1. Bill Elliott; 2. Chase Elliott; 3. Bobby Labonte; 4. Marco Andretti; 5. Tony Stewart; 6. Tony Kanaan; 7. Ernie Francis Jr; 8. Paul Tracy; 9. Helio Castroneves; 10. Hailie Deegan; 11. Michael Waltrip; 12. Willy T Ribbs;

-Points are handed out for heat finishing positions. The starting field of heat two was inverted based on the finish in heat 1.

Heat 2 (12 Minutes) : 1. Helio Castroneves; 2. Earnie Francis Jr; 3. Paul Tracy; 4. Bobby Labonte; 5. Tony Stewart; 6. Bill Elliott; 7. Tony Kanaan; 8. Chase Elliott; 9. Michael Waltrip; 10. Marco Andretti; 11. Hailie Deegan; 12. Willy T Ribbs;

-Average finish from both heats are used to set the feature starting lineup.

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Friday's motors: SRX smashes its way to theatrical close of inaugural season

The Detroit News 16 July, 2021 - 08:41pm

“It's got me watching, looking every time he's posted something new,” said Stewart, who along with fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham is credited with creating SRX.

The six-race series of somewhat randomly collected drivers from various forms of motorsports has entertained America by racing at grassroots short tracks across the country in a two-hour Saturday night show on CBS. The network had nothing to lose since hardly anyone is watching TV on a summer weekend night.

Chase beat his dad in their only other matchup, a 2013 late model race in Alabama. Odds are he will get the best of the 65-year-old again even though his father is an SRX regular. Bill Elliott has been racing with an injured hand since a crash three races ago but it is a rare chance to see father and son NASCAR champions race one another.

With over 1 million Instagram followers, Deegan is probably the most popular among the general public of all the drivers in the field so SRX gave her another spot for the finale, even though Kanaan is also racing. Tracy's antics haven't hurt the buzz, either.

Tracy has certainly added the personality element he's long believed has vanished since his generation of renegade open-wheel racers retired. The 52-year-old Canadian understands what gets the public's attention and he has gladly done his part.

“Fans are tired of boring drivers who have nothing interesting to say,” Tracy said. “They want rivalries and drama and colorful characters. That's what helps motorsports gain attention.”

The SRX villain has also been an aggressive driver and Evernham's crew — assembled to rebuild these single-purpose cars — has been busy. Evernham said Tracy also gave all 50 crew members $50 gift cards for a night out.

The co-creators call SRX “motorsports entertainment” and that could fall anywhere on the scale from an unsanctioned race to a carnival with cars. Who knows what the rules are, and who would even enforce them? There is a championship point fund with a payout, and drivers are paid a flat per-race fee, but if the racing is fake they are doing a masterful job of actually caring about the results.

Evernham and Stewart both claimed not to actually know how much money will be doled out to “full season” drivers; Evernham wasn't sure if the $500,000 to the champion rumor was true or if that sum is split between the top three in the standings. SRX has a deal through next season with CBS and Evernham wants the series to eventually pay $1 million to the champion.

Castroneves was fighting for runner-up in the standings, but last week's surprise win by Marco Andretti shuffled the order and gave Andretti a massive morale boost. Andretti gave up full-time IndyCar racing this year, saying it was not fun anymore and with no wins since 2011.

Now he races what he wants and Andretti rarely has appeared as carefree as he is at SRX. He's also going to run IMSA sports cars soon and is open to a NASCAR Xfinity Series opportunity, so SRX might have been the jumpstart Andretti needed for his career.

The series was designed to be a little bit of everything — SRX has made adjustments based on fan feedback since its debut race — and its David vs. Goliath angle has been rewarded three times. Doug Coby won the SRX opener as the home-track ringer at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut; it earned Coby his first career NASCAR start in September in the Truck Series race at Bristol.

This weekend, Chase Elliott will be SRX's biggest draw of the season and his father thinks an upset is unlikely. Still, Evernham wouldn't rule out a strong close from the driver who drove for him during his final three full-time NASCAR seasons.

“Bill has lost his confidence,” Evernham said. “We've got to get him going. I would not count him out completely if I could get him fired up.”

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell thrilled their home crowd Friday night as the British drivers dazzled in Formula One’s first attempt at a new sprint qualifying format.

“It feels like such a long time since we’ve been able to get anywhere near, so this is incredibly special and obviously to do it on your home turf there’s no greater feeling,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton nipped championship leader Max Verstappen in the session but it does not count as a pole position. That will be determined Saturday when F1 experiments with a new format. The three rounds of qualifying Friday night replaced the traditional second practice, and the sprint race is designed to bring more entertainment to the race weekend.

Hamilton climbed from his Mercedes and congratulated teammate Valtteri Bottas, who qualified third, then turned to the grandstands and pumped his arms in achievement.

“This is down to the fans,” he said. “That first lap was great. The second one was looking even better but just lost the back end in that last corner, so my heart was in my mouth as I crossed the line. But I could see the crowd and it was really reminiscent of my first pole here in 2007.”

Hamilton trails Verstappen by 32 points in the standings. The Dutchman takes a three-race winning streak into Sunday.

F1 is calling its tryout of this qualifying format “The Sprint” and it started Friday night with the three rounds and teams mandated to use soft tires. The actual starting lineup will be determined Saturday over 100 kilometers — or 17 laps — and the top three finishers will receive points toward the championship.

“We’ve been missing this for a whole year. I’m so grateful to see everyone here,” Hamilton said as the fans chanted his name. “To come to the Silverstone grand prix and have a full crowd like this, to see the energy... when I was coming into it, I was hopeful that with the great work we’ve done together in the team plus the energy of the fans would get us there.”

McLaren announced Thursday that its team head Zak Brown and two other team members had tested positive for the coronavirus. The team said Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were unaffected.

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