Dawsonville NASCAR driver Chase Elliott endured one of the more frustrating races of his rookie Nationwide Series season on Saturday afternoon, finishing 12th in his debut at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Elliott started fifth in the Lilly Diabetes 250 but had dropped to eighth at the time of the first caution. The 18-year-old rookie fought a loose handling race car, which appeared to come as the result of no rear grip. Elliott spent the majority of the race outside of the top-10 and was not pleased.
Today was unacceptable, Elliott said. It was just a very, very poor day. My NAPA Auto Parts team, and I will try to regroup and hopefully have a better run next weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Where we were running on the race track disappointed me today. I dont like looking up in the rear view mirror and see guys getting bigger. That means you arent moving along the way you need to.
The best chance that Elliott and crew chief Greg Ives had to remedy their car came under a lap 73 caution period. Most of the field stayed out under yellow and Elliott came in for fire tires and a chassis adjustment. Elliott dropped to 14th on the lap 76 restart and could only work his way to 14th by the lap 100 conclusion.
Ty Dillon outdueled Kyle Busch to post his first career victory with Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano completing the top-5. With his top-15 finish, Elliott was able to maintain his Nationwide championship lead but the gap to Regan Smith dropped to just four points.
We will keep our heads high, Elliott said. You take last weeks win at Chicagoland Speedway for granted and it gets you nowhere. You just have to take the lows and the highs the same way. After we won last week, Monday was a new agenda preparing for todays race at Indy.
We have to look at next week the same way and regroup before we unload in Iowa.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series next races on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in the U.S. Cellular 250. The race starts at 8 p.m. and will air on ESPN.