Two seventeen year olds, Chase Elliott and Erik Jones battled royally at the Tricky Triangle to score a one, two finish in the Pocono ARCA 200.
And in so doing, they made history, becoming the youngest winner and runner up finisher in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“It was a lot of fun,” Chase Elliott said of his race win after starting from the 32nd position. “We had to start in the back and had some work to do.”
“Lance (McGrew, crew chief) made some good calls getting us off sequence,” Elliott continued. “Being able to take advantage of that and get out in front when the cautions fell, I feel worked out to our advantage.”
“We got out front and stayed there so it worked out.”
The driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s-Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet admitted that it did not hurt having his father Bill coaching him prior to the race and from atop the hauler, especially with his history of winning at Pocono.
“I talked to him a lot by phone and then at the track,” Elliott said. “He gave me some good advice about this place.”
“But the big thing is that he never raced on this surface so a lot of things are different than how they used to be,” Elliott continued. “A lot of things have changed but it is still the same old Pocono and he helped me a lot.”
What did it mean to have his father with him in Victory Lane at Pocono?
“It means a ton to me,” Elliott said. “It wasn’t a little over ten years ago that I was in Victory Lane with Dad and I’ve got some pictures from that.”
“I just think that’s really cool,” Elliott continued. “To come up here to Pocono where Dad raced and to get that opportunity is really cool.”
“I knew it would mean a lot to win and we were fortunate that it worked out.”
Proud father Bill Elliott did have some first words for his young race winner in Victory Lane. And Chase Elliott definitely heeded that advice.
“First thing he said that he was going to keep the champagne because I wasn’t old enough to drink it,” Elliott said. “But I think it meant a lot for dad to go back to Victory Lane with me.”
“I’m not a dad but I feel like that would be cool,” Chase Elliott said. “I’m glad I could take him there today and hope to do it a lot more this year.”
Bill Elliott was indeed proud of his young son, who has become the focus of his racing expertise.
“Someone showed me a picture when I was in Victory Lane in 2002 and here is Chase in Victory Lane now in 2013,” Bill Elliott said. “He did a good job.”
“Everything came together and he did real well,” Elliott continued. “It’s a dream come true for me.”
“He’s done a good job in all he’s raced,” Elliott said. “This is just another era.”
Bill Elliott acknowledged that he was one who pushed the ARCA Series to consider relaxing their rules to allow 16 and 17 year olds to race in the series.
“The kids today have so much more experience and there was a real void there at age 16 or 17,” Elliott said. “ARCA is giving these kids a little extra time to get their feet wet.”
Bill Elliott was not the only proud parent with his son’s historic ARCA win.
“I’m just really thrilled for him,” mom Cindy Elliott said. “They tell me that he is the youngest winner.”
“So, I’m just thrilled for him and for the team and for Lance McGrew, winning now in every division,” Cindy Elliott continued. “What they’ve accomplished today is just wonderful.”
Crew chief Lance McGrew was also very proud of his young racer and felt fortunate that he could showcase his skills on the big track of Pocono.
“Chase is an extremely talented race car driver,” McGrew said. “He is young but he was born and bred that way.”
“He’s got years and years of experience,” McGrew continued. “We were fortunate enough that ARCA made a rule change this season to where we could run on a bigger race track.”
“I felt like with the backing we had and Chase’s experience that we could come here and do well,” McGrew said. “And we did.”
Seventeen year old Erik Jones, behind the wheel of the No. 15 ToyotaCare Toyota, finished runner up to Chase Elliott. And he had to battle his own demons and mistakes before being able to move forward to contend for the lead.
“We ran ourselves out of fuel right before the first pit stop on Lap 42,” Jones said. “We had the whole field lapped at that time.”
“We had to start at the tail end and a violation coming off pit road,” We just didn’t have time to run him back down.”
“We’ll come back in August and see if we can get the win.”
Veteran driver Frank Kimmel, in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, finished third. And he was feeling very good about that finish after just getting a few laps on the track because of the rain.
“Pretty good day,” Kimmel said. “We were one of the teams that didn’t test so we just had about three laps before the race.”
“I smacked the wall and I thought I had a flat,” Kimmel continued. “That kind of ruined our day and I couldn’t run with those two.”
“So, we rode it out.”
Kimmel had nothing but praise for the youngsters who beat him on the race track. And yes, he acknowledged that they were really young, with both of them combined having less years of life than he had alone.
“What a remarkable deal these young kids are,” Kimmel said. “I have underwear that old.”
“Chase is a chip off the old block,” Kimmel continued. “I asked Bill (Elliott) who Chase’s father was because he’s an awfully nice kid.”
“These young kids are a lot of fun to race with.”
Tom Hessert, behind the wheel of the No. 77 Barbera’s Autoland Dodge, and Mason Mitchell, driving the No. 99 Happy Cheeks-BeavEx-Reliance Tool Ford, rounded out the top five finishers in the Pocono ARCA 200.