Chase Elliott proved Sunday night that he can give just as good as he gets.
While fighting with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Johnny Sauter for the lead in the Super Late Model portion of SpeedFest 2014 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA, the Dawsonville, GA speedster found himself cut off at every turn.
It came to a head with just 17 laps left to go, as Elliott refused to back down when Sauter tried to slam the door on an attempted pass. The two made contact.
Sauter spun and tagged the outside wall, and would take his car to the pits. Elliott powered away from the field, and would go on to score the victory in the ARCA/CRA Super Series SpeedFest 200.
For Elliott, it was a bit of a short track send off. The 18 year old is about to embark on a career as a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver after spending the last several years as a force to be reckoned with on short tracks around the country.
“It was really special,” Elliott said in victory lane. “Honestly, it was more special, obviously because of how hard we had to work to earn this race. I always love to race hard. I raced hard with Johnny ever since the break there all the way to the end. I had a lot of fun and fortunately came out on top.”
The Elliott-Sauter duel began battling for the lead soon after the halfway break of the 200 lap event. Sauter made short work of leaders Bubba Pollard and Scotty Ellis, who were running on older tires, and moved to the top position. Elliott, who had led most of the first half of the race, would soon join the Wisconsin native at the front of the pack.
Over the next 60 laps, the two would battle for the win like there was no tomorrow. Elliott would put together a run coming off the corner, only to find himself cut off as the two got to the end of the straightaway, as Sauter worked to hold the Georgia racer behind him.
On several restarts, Sauter, choosing the inside restart line, would muscle Elliott towards the outside of the track. With Watermelon Capital Speedway having no outside retaining wall from the middle of turn three to turn four, a driver could easily catch the berm on the outside of the track, sending a car through the dirt and grass. Elliott was able to avoid this, but it cost him a strong run each time.
With 17 laps to go, Elliott was able to get the run on the inside line coming off of the second turn as the duo raced side-by-side. When they reached the third turn, Sauter again tried to cut off the No. 9 car.
But this time, Elliott was having none of it.
Elliott stuffed his car into the turn, and the two bounced off each other coming through the third and fourth turns.
Off of turn four, the volcano erupted. Sauter’s car spun, tagging the outside wall, and drawing a caution. Under yellow, Sauter drove back up to Elliott to show his displeasure. The Wisconsinite then parked his car in the pits for the duration of the race.
Elliott would not be seriously challenged again the rest of the night. He would drive away to score the victory, with Daniel Hemric in second, Austin Theriault third, David Ragan in fourth, and Jeff Cannon in fifth.
Scotty Ellis, John Wes Townley, Lee Tissot, Kyle Grissom and Garrett Campbell rounded out the top ten.
All results are unofficial until certified by race officials.
The race was slowed 17 times for cautions, and once under red for a frightening crash on lap 32 when Clay Rogers made hard contact with the inside wall in the third turn. Rogers suffered a wrist injury as a result, but climbed out under his own power.
ARCA/CRA Super Series
Watermelon Capital Speedway – Cordele, GA
SpeedFest 200 (Unofficial Results) – Jan. 26, 2014
1. Chase Elliott
2. Daniel Hemric
3. Austin Theriault
4. David Ragan
5. Jeff Cannon
6. Scotty Ellis
7. John Wes Townley
8. Lee Tissot
9. Kyle Grissom
10. Garrett Campbell
11. Brandon Jones
12. Russell Fleeman
13. Spencer Wauters
14. Anderson Bowen
15. Kyle Bryant
16. Brandon Oakley
17. Johnny Sauter
18. Bubba Pollard
19. T.J. Reaid
20. John Coffman
21. Preston Peltier
22. Hunter Robbins
23. Dalton Grindle
24. Dwayne Buggay
25. John Hunter Nemechek
26. Clay Rogers
27. Donnie Wilson
28. Casey Smith
29. Spencer Davis