Elliott Is An All-American Success
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday night Chase Elliott and Daniel Hemric added to the long and storied racing history of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
The historic track in Tennessee’s capital city has seen some of stock car racing’s greatest achieve success in the past. By winning the All American 400 Saturday, Elliott cemented his place as one of the greatest short track racers of all time, while Hemric made history of another kind in the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco.
Elliott won the 300-lap Southern Super Series All American 400 to complete a career sweep of four of Super Late Model racing’s most prestigious events, adding to his Snowball Derby, Winchester 400 and World Crown 300 victories in recent seasons. Hemric eked out the Southern Super Series championship in the final race of the series’ inaugural season by just one point after point leader Bubba Pollard was involved in a late-race crash.
It was a historic night that will forever be a part of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville’s lore.
“I don’t know what to say,” said a humbled Elliott, 17, in victory lane at Nashville. “A big thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far. This means a lot.”
Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott, was close to winning the All American 400 back in 2010, but finished second to T.J. Reaid. Saturday night, he got his redemption by charging to the front in the final 70 laps of the race with fresh tires.
“We were so close back in 2010 and we had a really good race with T.J., but we just came up a little bit short. To come back and get the job done means a ton to me and my family. We put so much effort into this and it’s great for it to pay off.”
Hemric finished second to Elliott on the track, then had to wait as Southern Super Series officials crunched the numbers that decided the championship. When the green flag fell to start the race, Hemric was 53 points behind point leader Bubba Pollard. The two traded the championship lead throughout the race with one having time up front when the other was at the back of the pack.
On lap 283, Pollard was involved in a crash in turn one that took out several other frontrunners, including Eddie Hoffman, Erik Jones and Kyle Benjamin. Pollard’s night was done, leaving the title up for grabs. Hemric made a late pit stop for fresh tires that allowed him to climb up to second at the checkered flag, while Pollard was scored 20th. That gap earned Hemric, a 22-year-old from Kannapolis, N.C., the inaugural Southern Super Series championship.
“I never thought it would turn out like it did,” said Hemric. “I hated to see Bubba Pollard get taken out like that. It’s horrible and heartbreaking for everyone on that team. That’s kind of how his year went. He was really good, but he had a lot of bad luck. I hate to win it like that, but we were just in the right place at the right time all season. That’s key to running for the championship. We were able to do that throughout the whole series.
“It’s hard to say that I’m disappointed in winning the championship and running second, but I just really wanted to win that All American 400 and hold that guitar trophy. Still, the championship is pretty sweet.”
For Pollard, his turn-one incident not only sealed his fate on his championship efforts, it also closed a roller-coaster Southern Super Series season.
” I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” Pollard said. “I just hate it for my guys that worked hard all year. We’ve gone through a lot this year and had to make some changes. It’s been an up and down year, but they were the ones that put in the hard work and stuck behind me. They get more out of this than I do. He’s a good driver and he’s as good as they get. He deserves it. Congratulations to him. We just had too many problems this year.”
Hunter Robbins, Johnny VanDoorn and Augie Grill followed Elliott and Hemric across the stripe to complete the top five in the All American 400.
Chase Elliott, Daniel Hemric, Hunter Robbins, Johnny VanDoorn, Augie Grill, Ross Kenseth, Preston Peltier, Chad Finley, Trey Mitchell, Donnie Wilson, Eddie Van Meter, Stephen Nasse, Cody Coughlin, T.J. Reaid, Mark Kraus, Erik Jones, Kyle Benjamin, Joseph Meyer, Eddie Hoffman, Bubba Pollard, Mason Mingus, Anderson Bowen, Tyler Speer, Jordan Sims, Willie Allen, Allen Karnes, Austin Theriault, John Hunter Nemechek, Casey Roderick, Spencer Davis, Stacey Crain, Johnny Brazier, Michael House, Dennis Schoenfeld, Mike Garvey, Lonnie Sommerville.