Elliott takes winning momentum and points lead to Darlington

Darlington, SC ( - After winning last Friday's race at Texas, Chase Elliott has established himself as a serious championship contender in the Nationwide Series in just his rookie season.

Elliott, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, became the second youngest driver to win a Nationwide race. He claimed his first victory in the series at the age of 18 years, 4 months and 7 days. Logano set the record as the youngest winner in Nationwide when he took the checkered flag in June 2008 at Kentucky. Logano was 18 years and 7 days old at the time.

Elliott's win at Texas allowed him to overtake Regan Smith, his JR Motorsports teammate, and Trevor Bayne for the top spot in the Nationwide point standings. He became the youngest points leader in series history.

"I definitely know it's early on in the year, and there's so much racing to be done," Elliott said. "Just got to make sure we keep our heads where they need to be and just got to make sure we keep on the right track and try to continue to get better because that's what our competition is doing right now."

Elliott began the season with a 15th-place finish at Daytona but has scored five straight top-10 finishes since then. He holds a two-point lead over Smith. Ty Dillon is third in the standings (-10), followed Elliott Sadler (-16) and Bayne (-18).

The series will run its seventh race of the season on Friday night at Darlington Raceway. This will be the first time Elliott competes in a NASCAR national touring event at this 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval.

"I'm really excited about it," he said. "Darlington is still one of my favorite places to watch races at. It always seems to put on really good shows, and I'm looking forward to being there this weekend and being a part of that. I think it's going to be hopefully a lot of fun, and it's obviously a racetrack that's known for being a tough place."

While Bill Elliott won five Cup races at Darlington during his career, Chase Elliott struggles to remember his past times here as a spectator.

"Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I even saw the racetrack," he said. "I have absolutely no idea. It'll be, I guess, a new deal for me this weekend."

Forty teams are on the entry list for the VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano are those Sprint Cup Series regulars scheduled to compete in this race.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 11. Race: VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200. Site: Darlington Raceway. Track: 1.366-mile oval. Start time: 8 p.m. ET. Laps: 147. Miles: 200.8. 2013 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.