Chase Elliott has certainly shown his talents in his young career and today the 17-year-old became the youngest driver to ever win a speedway race in the ARCA Racing Series when he won the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. Elliott said it was in part to a great pit call by crew chief Lance McGrew.
"It was a lot of fun," Elliott said in victory lane. "Lance made a great pit strategy call and that helped a lot."
Elliott took the lead from Tom Hessert on lap 59 and led the races' final 21 laps holding off a hard charging Erik Jones. Jones was running the #15 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports and had a strong car early but had some trouble in the middle stages of the event that could have cost him the race. Finishing third was points leader Frank Kimmel. Tom Hessert finished fourth and Mason Mitchell finished fifth.
Elliott started 33rd on the field because the team was low in owner points. By lap four Elliott was in the tenth position. Frank Kimmel sat on the pole and led the early stages of the race. By lap 11 Chase Elliott was up to the sixth position and by lap 18 he was in fourth. On lap 23 Kimmel lost the lead when 17 year old Erik Jones passed him in turn three.
On lap 31 Elliott was up to the third position and on lap 34 Elliott would start the round of green flag pit stops. He had a clean pit stop under green and that was key for Elliott as several of the leaders would have problems. On lap 41 Frank Kimmel would pit and his front tire changer would miss a lug nut, costing the team precious time under green. On lap 43 Erik Jones had a commanding lead when his car started to slow down and fall off the pace. Jones' Toyota was out of fuel coming off of turn one and had a long way to go to get back to pit road.
Jones would catch a break as the #40 car of Dominick Casola would stop just out of the tunnel turn and cause the races' first caution on lap 43. Jones would make it back around but was forced to pit when pit road was closed. Jones started the following restart from the end of the longest line.
When pit road did open Frank Kimmel would stop again along with leader Mason Mingus. Kimmel had a set of tires that didn't agree with the car and had an extreme loose condition.
When the race restarted on lap 48 Frank Kimmel and Buster Graham would experience problems in turn one. Kimmel would get loose and slam the outside wall with his Toyota and Graham lost control and spun coming off of turn one. Graham would spin in the middle of the field but wouldn't have too much damage. Kimmel's damage was significant but the Menards' team fixed the damage and he would continue and finish in a strong third position. Graham finished 13th.
When the race restarted on lap 51 Tom Hessert and Chase Elliott led the field to green. It was a short lived restart because in turn one two cars hit the wall hard. It caused the races' third caution flag. On lap 57 the race would restart with Hessert in the lead. Elliott would be right in his tire tracks and would pass Hessert for the race winning move on lap 59. Elliott would speed ahead for his first career ARCA Racing Series victory.
Mason Mingus finished sixth, AJ Henriksen finished seventh, eighth was Spencer Gallagher, ninth was Justin Boston and Josh Williams rounded out the top ten.
Other notables in the field included Sean Corr in 11th, Milka Duno in 14th, Bobby Gerhart in 19th and James Hylton in 24th.Tags: ARCA Racing Series, Chase Elliott, Frank Kimmel, Motorsports, Pocono Raceway