Chase Elliott’s scheduled race at the legendary Winchester Speedway in Indiana didn’t turn out like he expected, but he wound up with something even better — a win in the season’s second “Show Me The Money” race at Montgomery Motor Speedway in Alabama.
The Aaron’s crew was all set to race at Winchester, but as the truck neared the track, they learned the race had been called because of inclement weather moving into the region.
So like any short track team worth its salt, they began looking for another place to race.
Team owner Bill Elliott, off doing an appearance elsewhere, came up with the solution.
“Well, we could go to Montgomery if we can get everything switched over,” Elliott said. So transporter driver Clyde Moody pointed the truck home, and the crew began swapping engines and seats over to the Pro Late Model cars that were not supposed to be raced until May 14 at Rockingham, N.C.
By 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, the Aaron’s rig was back on the road, headed south, this time with Bill Elliott doing the driving.
For a time, the weather looked as if it would throw another wrench into the team’s plans, but this time Mother Nature cooperated.
Elliott had the fastest time in practice and qualified fifth in a field of 29.
At the start of the 125-lap race, Elliott put his Ford Blue Oval engine to work, challenging and taking the fourth position before the first caution on Lap Five.
He passed Bubba Pollard for the third position on Lap 26, putting him just behind race leader Augie Grill and second-place Josh Hamner.
Hamner pitted on Lap 51 under caution, and Elliott took over the second position. Elliott’s car slowly came to him throughout the evening, just as crew chief Ricky Turner had hoped it would.
As the laps wound down, Turner radioed to his driver that it was time to turn up the heat on Grill.
“Chase, we’ve got 20 laps to go,” he said.
Elliott noticed that Grill, one of the South’s toughest short trackers, was slipping up the track a little more each time he entered a turn. Sensing that something had gone wrong on the Grill machine, he took advantage and passed Grill on a Lap 113 restart. Grill pitted two laps later with a deflating tire.
Another caution came out on lap 117 when Grill spun. With Elliott leading and John Bolen and Bubba Pollard in position to challenge, the restart was crucial.
Just like in Sprint Cup races of late, and Elliott’s recent race at Five Flags Speedway in Florida, a driver’s performance on a late-race restart is often the difference between winning and losing a race.
Spotter Bill Elliott radioed to his son: “Let’s see what you learned here.”
Elliott had learned his lesson from Five Flags, and this time he won the restart and pulled away from both Bolen and Pollard until another caution came out, again for Grill on lap 121.
The next restart was a replay of the first, with Elliott holding the lead as flagman John Midkiff waved the green flag for the final time.
As Elliott pulled into Victory Lane he radioed his crewmembers a sincere “thank you” for their long weekend of work.
“I just can’t thank you guys enough for all of your hard work to get everything switched over to come here tonight,” he said. “This was amazing.”
With his victory, Elliott leads in the Show Me The Money series.