Just 48 hours and 700 miles after snapping his winless streak in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Chase Elliott left Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) with his third career Southern Super Series win, and second Alabama 200 triumph.
Elliott set second fast-time Saturday evening but after a re-draw started seventh for the start of the 200 lap affair Sunday afternoon. The reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion didn’t like how things went during the first half of the race and used the halfway break to reset both driver and car for the final 100 lap run.
“I don’t think I went about things correctly,” Elliott said of the first half of the race, “I think I used (my car) up a little too much in that first half. I tried to set a better pace in the second half”
A “better pace” did not necessarily mean a slower one as roughly two-thirds of the way through the event, Elliott locked into a tight battle with four-time Alabama 200 winner Augie Grill to pull into third after the pair spent more than a dozen laps fighting for the podium spot.
Just when it looked like Elliott was going to battle Kyle Grissom and Donnie Wilson for the top two spots, the No. 9 slowed to a stop in turn two, bringing out the caution.
“I got a flat right-front. I guess as I was down shifting I got it hung up in gears and couldn’t get it back going.”
Elliott restarted 10th and made quick work of the field before racing past Grissom to take the lead on lap 176. It would be short-lived however as a late-race caution gave Grissom another shot at the top spot.
Grissom, who led the most laps on the afternoon, prevailed on the restart and held off Elliott for a half-dozen laps but the Dawsonville, Georgia driver was just too strong in the end, taking the lead for the final time on lap 183 and never looking back.
“I appreciate him (Grissom) racing me clean.” Elliott said after the great duel that played out in front of the packed grandstands, “I had been working him for a bunch of laps there and finally got a run on him. Then that caution came out and I had a really bad restart. I had to work twice as hard just to get back by him again.”
Grissom raced inside the top three for the entire race and hung on for the runner-up finish. Behind the top two, Ross Kenseth worked his way up from a 10th starting spot to round out the podium.
Next up for the Southern Super Series will be the season finale on August 26 at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway where the Super Late Models will run for 150 laps in front of a national audience. The final race of the season will be broadcast live on Speed51.com thanks to support from PFC Brakes.
-By Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Operations Manager – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975
-Photo credit: Heath Lawson
51st Annual Alabama 200
Southern Super Series