Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Texas Motor Speedway has become a special place for defending Xfinity Series champion Chase Elliott.
One year ago, Elliott, the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, became a first-time race winner in the series after beating Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at this 1.5-mile track. Elliott drives the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, which is co- owned by Earnhardt, his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick.
Elliott made a bold move around Harvick, his JRM teammate, for the lead following the last restart with 16 laps to go. Elliott took command from there, crossing the finish line 2.7 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Busch, who had won the spring race at Texas the year prior. Larson placed third, followed by Harvick, who had started on the pole and led the most laps with 101, and Earnhardt.
"It was an unbelievable night last season, and it meant the world to me that I was able to share the moment with my mom and dad," Elliott said. "Looking back on the final restart, I recall going to Kevin (Harvick) for a lot of advice that weekend and to pass him for the lead - I just couldn't believe it."
Elliott's maiden victory in NASCAR's second-tier series happened in just his sixth start. He became the second youngest driver to win a race in the series, doing so at age 18 years, 4 months and 7 days. Joey Logano holds the record. Logano was 18 years and 21 days old when he won at Kentucky in June 2008.
Elliott also won at Darlington, one week after Texas, and the July race at Chicagoland during his 2014 championship season in Xfinity. He is the youngest driver ever to win a title in any one of NASCAR's three national touring series.
Right now, Elliott is third in the Xfinity point standings. He is 15 points behind leader Ty Dillon. Elliott started the season with a 28th-place finish at Daytona and then had top-10 runs at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix before finishing 13th in Fontana, California. The series has been off the past two weeks.
Last month, Elliott made his Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville, starting 27th and finishing 38th. He is scheduled to compete in four more Cup races this season before he replaces Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet next year.
Earnhardt is one of five Sprint Cup regulars competing in Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski are the others.
"I'm looking forward to getting to Texas in the Xfinity car again," Earnhardt said. "Our company, as a whole, has run really well at Texas the last few years, obviously with Chase getting his first win last year being the highlight."
Earnhardt's first career Xfinity win occurred at Texas in April 1998.
Series: NASCAR Xfinity. Date: Friday, April 10. Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Site: Texas Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2014 Winner: Chase Elliott. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.