With five races left in the season, Dawsonville's Chase Elliott is poised to take home the NASCAR Nationwide Championship title in his first year on the circuit.
He currently sits 26 points ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith after securing his 14th top-five finish Saturday at Dover International Speedway.
Starting on the front row alongside poll winner Joey Logano, Elliott ran second for most of the first 38 laps until a caution flag flew after a wreck directly in front of him.
The No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet sustained minor damage, enough to send Elliott to the pits twice for repairs.
"It was frustrating at times, but I also knew we had a super-fast NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet from the get-go," he said in a statement after the race. "We kind of managed our time in the beginning and then I made a mistake following those guys way too close. It was completely my fault. I drove into a wreck and we got behind and could never get to the front from that point forward."
After restarting 23rd on lap 47, the 18-year-old rookie managed to work his way back to the fifth position, where he ran the remainder of the 200-lap race.
"My team gave me an awesome car today. From the drop of the green, we had speed and I knew we had a car capable of winning," he said. "We just couldn't overcome the early mistake. I was very pleased with the way my team taped up the car and got it to where it was still competitive."
The second-generation driver and son of Bill Elliott finished third behind winner Kyle Busch and a second-place Logano. Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.
"We battled as hard as we could. It just wasn't enough," Chase Elliott said.
Next up for the younger Elliott in the Nationwide Series is Kansas Speedway at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The series then goes to Charlotte, Texas - where Elliott won his first Nationwide race in April - and Phoenix, before ending the season Nov. 15 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
He also has wins at Darlington and Chicagoland.
If he takes home the championship in Miami, Chase Elliott will be the first rookie to win the title and the youngest champion in NASCAR history. It would also be the first title for JR Motorsports.