In true Independence Day fashion, Dawsonville native Chase Elliott brought the fireworks to Road America in Plymouth, Wisconsin on July 4, 2021, winning the Jockey Made in America 250.
At the end of the race, Elliott drove an entire four-mile victory lap through the course to celebrate with fans alongside the course. He burned his tires out at the finish line of his celebratory lap and at the end of his post-race press conference at turn five, running his tires raw as the crowd chanted.
“I wasn't gonna miss anybody,” Elliott said. “Thank you for spending your Fourth of July with us. Hope you enjoyed the show. Really proud of our team for overcoming adversity early, having to start in the back. Really proud, had a few tough past weeks.”
Elliott has now won six of the last eight road course races, bringing his career total up to seven wins, and sits third behind NASCAR Legends Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart in the running for all-time road course wins.
NBC Sports announcers said that Elliott’s demeanor before the race was dejected and discouraged, based on how he performed during practice. When asked how he figured it out so quickly, Elliott said it was “kinda lucky.”
“I never felt like I got in a good rhythm all of yesterday,” Elliott said. “For whatever reason, halfway through the race I was able to put it together and piece different parts of the track together. By the end of it, I felt like I had most of it figured out.”
The race started rough for Elliott, who started in 34th place after he failed to finish qualifying laps. He was able to move all the way up to 10th place by the end of Stage One, but fell back down to 15th place at the end of Stage Two.
Crew Chief Alan Gufstafson took a massive risk by not having Elliott pit at the end of Stage Two, leaving Elliott out and moving up to third place.
“Four miles is a long course and it has a lot of character to it,” Elliott said. “Conserving your tire was a little bit of a thing today and to be honest, I feel like we don’t have much of that anymore.”
He first took the lead from Matt DiBendetto on lap 38 and held it for five laps until a caution flag came out on lap 43. Then, Elliott took his trip to pit road under caution and returned to the track in sixth place. But before the first restart lap finished, Elliott was back in the lead and never looked back, winning the race by six seconds.
The win pushed Elliott back up to fifth place in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings, behind 2019 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman, along with Martin Truex Jr. It was Hendrick Motorsports 15th win in the last 34 Cup Series races.
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 11, 2021 for the Quaker State 400. Elliott will look to become the second Georgia-born Cup Series driver to ever win at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His father, Bill Elliott, is currently the only winner ever with five career wins.