Darlington, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Eighteen-year-old Chase Elliott has done it again.
Elliott bounced back from two slow pit stops, including one in the closing laps, and then charged from sixth to first after the final restart with just two laps to go to win his second consecutive Nationwide Series race on Friday night at Darlington Raceway. The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and son of former Cup Series champion Bill Elliott scored his first career victory in the series one week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, in just his sixth start.
Elliott Sadler led the way for the last restart, but Elliott passed Sadler between turns 3 and 4 on the final lap and then beat him to the finish line by 0.3 seconds.
Kyle Busch, the pole sitter, had a near two-second lead over second-place Elliott with seven laps to go when Tanner Berryhill spun out in turn 1, forcing the seventh caution. During the caution with five laps left, Sadler and Kyle Larson exited pit road 1-2, respectively, after taking right-side tires only. Busch had a four-tire stop and came out in third. Elliott lost four positions due to another issue with the changing of his tires.
Elliott moved up to second on the final lap, as he chased down Sadler for the lead. Sadler got loose and nearly spun coming out of turn 2. That allowed Elliott to move to the outside of him and then make the pass.
"Holy cow, I don't know, man, that was crazy," Elliott said. "I didn't know what to expect starting sixth. I knew those guys on two tires were going to be a little slower than the guys on four. Elliott got a little loose off of 2, and I was able to get to the outside. That's where I wanted to be anyway. It was unbelievable."
Elliott is a rookie in Nationwide and a senior in high school this year. It was the first time he had competed in a NASCAR national touring series race at Darlington, a 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. His father won five Cup races here during his career, including a victory in the 1985 Southern 500, which earned him a $1 million bonus.
Elliott became the youngest driver to win two Nationwide races, doing so at 18 years, 4 months and 14 days. Joey Logano held the previous record (18 years, 10 months, 18 days).
"I couldn't believe last week [at Texas], much less here at Darlington," Elliott said. "This truly is a dream come true. This is a place that I have always loved watching races. It's probably my favorite racetrack to watch a race as a fan for a long time. Just to come and be a part of this race is unbelievable, but to come and win this thing is a deal I'll never forget."
Sadler finished in the runner-up spot at Darlington for the second straight year.
"My pit crew got me out in the lead," Sadler said. "We had been battling a loose car all night. We tried to tighten it up some, but I just got really loose there going through 1 and 2. I almost lost it off of turn 2, lost my momentum. Just tried to catch the car. Chase did a good job getting to the outside of me."
Matt Kenseth crossed the line in third, while Busch ended up in fourth after leading 84 of 147 laps. Elliott ran in front for 52 laps. Busch started on the pole and won last year's race at Darlington.
Joey Logano finished fifth, followed by Larson and Kevin Harvick. Regan Smith rebounded from a spin just past the halfway point to take the eighth spot. Trevor Bayne and Ty Dillon, also a rookie this season, completed the top-10.
With the win, Elliott widened his points lead to 13 over Smith. Sadler is 20 points behind, while Dillon trails by 23.