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Elliott finishes fifth

Maintains points lead at AMS

POSTED: September 3, 2014 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Chase Elliott signs an autograph for fan Nick Clancey from Jesup Saturday during a meet and greet before the race.

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HAMPTON - There was little doubt who the star of the Great Clips 300 to benefit Feed the Hungry was at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.

"We're here to see Chase Elliott," said Nick Clancey from Jesup.

Tara Daniel drove to Hampton from Savannah to watch her favorite driver.

"Chase is one of the most awesome drivers. He's so young and he's so very talented," she said as she waited with nearly 200 other fans hoping for an autograph of the latest racing phenomenon from Dawsonville.

Starting on the pole, Elliott raced to a fifth place finish in his first start at his home state track.

"It's always exciting to race around home, and anytime you can do that it's definitely one of the places you want to shine," he said before the race. "There's no question this is one of the dates I've been most excited for all season long.

"Who doesn't want to do well in front of their friends and family?"

The stands at Atlanta Motor Speed were awash with fans wearing what they are calling "Chase Elliott blue."

"We've been so excited about what he's been doing," said Dana Johnson of Augusta.

Elliott led the first 36 laps of the 195-lap race that started just as the sun began to set over the track.

While Elliott may have been the crowd favorite, it was his teammate Kevin Harvick that dominated the race.

The win marked Harvick's third Nationwide victory of the season and back-to-back victories at Atlanta in the Nationwide Series.

Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Elliott rounded out the top five.

"We started out good tonight, and waited on the No. 5 [Harvick] to get there, so I could learn a little bit from him in the race, mostly the line he was running," Elliott said.

"Once he got there, I was able to learn quite a bit, but we were really just free to begin the race and fought that issue most of the night."

Despite battling a loose car and a costly mistake in the pits late in the race, Elliott managed the stay in near the front of the pack all night.

"I thought we got better and better as we went, but I made an unacceptable mistake there at the end when I overshot my pit box on the last pit stop, costing us a few positions on the race track," he said.

"My guys deserved a better night than what they got, so my bad. I will fix this before we get to Richmond next week."

The fifth-place finish, his third consecutive and 11th of the season, keeps Elliott in Nationwide Series championship contention, 15 points ahead of teammate Regan Smith.

 

 

 

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