A crew chief for a popular driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be headed to the Sprint Cup level in 2015.
Greg Ives will be the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015.
It was announced at the beginning of this year’s season that Steve Letarte would be leaving as Dale Jr.’s crew chief at the end of 2014 to be an analyst for NBC when NASCAR coverage moves to that affiliate in 2015.
Chase Elliott celebrates in Victory Lane
He started out strong and faded back, but came back in winning fashion at Chicagoland Speedway. Chase Elliott was able to claim his third win of the season and gained the points lead Saturday night.
Pole-sitter Brian Scott took over the lead early but Elliott kept up with the top runners starting from the third position. By lap 16, Elliott was on the bumper of Scott. They swapped the lead beginning on lap 21 with Elliott taking the lead and Scott quickly battling back. Elliott was able to keep the lead until lap 51 when a charging Ryan Blaney took over the top spot.
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on April 11, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. Photo by Getty Images
The Lady in Black was no adversary for Chase Elliott who dominated the race track nicknamed “Too Tough to Tame”. It was his first crack at getting a handle on the intricacies of the turns and her personality and it didn’t take too long for Elliott to speak wheel his way to a win. He did it in his first try and he gathered his second win in a row in his rookie season.
Elliott wasted no time in moving toward the front of the pack as he was challenging for the third position by lap 26 in Friday night’s race at Darlington Raceway. He took the lead for the first time on lap 34. He would lose the lead after a caution on lap 88. A poor pit stop caused him to lose five spots. Kyle Busch came up with the lead and that’s where he stayed until the last round of pit stops with seven laps to go.
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
They say everything is bigger in Texas. After Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, rookie Chase Elliott proved that even race wins are even bigger in Texas.
The win was so big, drivers from several teams made it a point to stop and give Elliott a high five for his effort for holding off Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kyle Busch for the win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson even made an appearance in Victory Lane to offer his congratulations to the 18-year-old winner.
Sam Hornish, Jr. will be driving in seven races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he will pilot the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota. His first race will be May 3 at Talladega Super Speedway. He will also participate in races at Road America, Chicagoland Speedway, Mid-Ohio, Kentucky Speedway and both races at Iowa Speedway. Kyle Busch will drive in the remaining 26 races of the season with Adam Stevens calling the shots from atop the pit box. Hornish spent the past two seasons driving the No. 12 Ford for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series.
A disqualification gave Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Erik Jones the opportunity to hoist the Snowball Derby champion trophy Sunday night.
A post-race inspection found that race-winner Chase Elliott’s team used tungsten which is illegal in Super Late Model competition. The illegal weight cost Elliott the trophy and it was instead awarded to second place finisher Erik Jones.
Jones was the defending champion going into Sunday’s 300 lap race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.