Chase Elliott claims first Nationwide win in Texas

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Perhaps Kevin Harvick shared a little too much information with Chase Elliott in the days leading up to Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Elliott’s sixth-career Nationwide start. Because, whatever Harvick told Elliott, Elliott used to claim his first Nationwide win in Friday night’s race, a race in which he got by then-leader Harvick with 16 laps to go to became the second-youngest winner in series history at the age of 18 years, four months and seven days.

“I went to him (Harvick) for a lot of advice this week,” Elliott said.

Harvick wound up fourth at the end, as Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson got by him in the closing laps to take second and third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five.

Harvick led 101 laps of the 200-lap race, with most of those coming in the first half. He started on the pole and led the first 87 laps before being passed by Busch for the lead on lap 88. Busch and Larson were among four drivers who started in the back after failing to make a qualifying attempt, as their cars didn’t get through pre-qualifying technical inspection in time to make laps during qualifying. It didn’t take either driver long to get towaard the front though, as both drivers were knocking on the door of the top-10 by lap 10. Busch made his way up to second on lap 31, and Larson claimed third on a restart just past lap 50.

After Busch took the lead from Harvick, Harvick lost a few more spots as he battled a wheel weight issue. Busch then lost the lead to Elliott on lap 135 and then lost a few more positions, giving up second to Earnhardt.

Earnhardt then took the lead with 32 laps remaining, but Harvick was back up front when he got off pit road first during the final caution of the race that came out with 32 laps to go. Harvick was able to add a few more laps to his total of laps led before losing the lead for good to Elliott in the final 20 laps.

“Unbelievable, man,” Elliott said. “I can’t believe it. Just to have this opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

JR Motorsports entered four cars in the Texas race, all all four ran within the top-10 for the entire event. In the end, three finished in the top-five — Elliott, Harvick and Earnhardt. All four were still in the top-10 at the checkered flag, with Regan Smith finishing seventh.

Matt Kenseth was sixth, Ryan Blaney eighth, Ty Dillon ninth, and Elliott Sadler 10th.

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Here is a gallery of images from the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):


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