Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chase Elliott has quickly made a name for himself in NASCAR by winning back-to-back Nationwide Series races during his rookie season.
Elliott, who drives the No. 9 NAPA-sponsored Chevrolet for JR Motorsports and is the 18-year-old son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, will attempt to win his third consecutive Nationwide race on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway.
If Elliott can take the checkered flag at Richmond, he would become the first Nationwide regular to win three races in a row since Dale Earnhardt Jr., a co- owner of JR Motorsports, last did it in 1999. Earnhardt won in Dover, Del., South Boston, Va. and Watkins Glen, N.Y. during his second straight championship season that year.
Elliott's first career Nationwide win came on April 4 at Texas, his first time competing at that track. One week later, he won at Darlington, his maiden race there as well, after passing Elliott Sadler for the lead on the final lap.
"It was good to have two good weeks back-to-back like that, but at the same time, each week is so different, so you just got to take it one week at a time," Elliott said.
This will be the first time Elliott runs in a NASCAR national touring series race at Richmond. He has competed in two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events at this three-quarter-mile racetrack, finishing second in the 2012 event.
"It's obviously different from car to car since the last time I was here in a K&N race two years ago, so it's a pretty big difference from those cars," he said. "I think it's a neat racetrack and always seems to put on a good show."
Nationwide teams practiced at Richmond on Thursday. Elliott made more laps than any other driver during the first practice (47 laps) and the final practice (84). He was sixth quickest in P1 (121.622 mph) and fifth fastest in P2 (121.027 mph). Ryan Blaney had the best lap overall at 122.421 mph.
"I thought there at times our car was okay, but at times I didn't think it was very good, so we definitely have some work to do for the race," Elliott said. "I think running laps is a good thing. I think it just kind of simulates a little bit more of what you're going to see in the race here. You're not going to make five, six-lap runs in the race. You're going to be making 50, 60, 70, 100-lap runs. So I feel like trying to simulate that the best you can is hopefully going to be beneficial for us."
Elliott currently holds a 13-point lead over second-place and JRM teammate Regan Smith. He began the season with a 15th-place run at Daytona but has finished no worse than ninth since.
Forty teams are on the entry list for the ToyotaCare 250. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson are those Sprint Cup Series regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Daniel Suarez, a NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East competitor, is expected to make his Nationwide debut at Richmond.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 25. Race: ToyotaCare 250. Site: Richmond International Raceway. Track: 0.75-mile oval. Start time: 7 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 187.5. 2013 Winner: Brad Keselowski. Television: ESPNews. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.