Next challenge: Master road courses like Mid-Ohio RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live Though Chase Elliott wound up a best-in-class sixth after his first visit to Watkins Glen International , he still described it as "a tough place to come into blind." Drawing on those parallels, this weekend's stop for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is also a dark spot in the rookie's field of vision. For the second consecutive week, Elliott will compete on a road course he's never seen when the circuit visits the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course , site of Saturday's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN). The unfamiliarity hasn't stopped Elliott from excelling on the sport's twisty tracks before, including his most recent effort when he finished first among Nationwide regulars behind five veterans of the Sprint Cup ranks at the Glen. Even with plenty of room to grow and learn, his toughest criticism last weekend came from within. "I just look at where I'm at as a road racer personally, and I obviously need to step that up," Elliott said. "(Saturday) was a decent day, but I think we're capable of running inside the top five at all these events, including the companion races, road courses or whatever. And I think we had the car to do that today. So I think just myself personally needs to step up and be a better road racer. Just try to figure out how to keep up with those guys and then try to figure out how to beat them." Meanwhile, his father -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott -- had a slightly different perspective, watching his son's JR Motorsports crew load a relatively clean No. 9 Chevrolet onto the team's hauler. The 58-year-old former driver made 18 starts at Watkins Glen in NASCAR's big leagues, noting that road racing wasn't an easy learn in the early stages of his career. "He's got to understand, he looks at what he's got to be against the best guys that have been here a lot," the elder Elliott said. "Sometimes, you've just got to back up and take it a step at a time. I think he did a great job today. He did what he needed to do, and sometimes that's what you've got to do. I think that goes to show he can figure it out." Chase Elliott figures to have less competition with Sprint Cup experience since Saturday's race isn't a companion event to NASCAR's premier series, which races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Still, his path to victory may have to go through road-course veteran Alex Tagliani , who battled fiercely with Elliott in the top five in June at Road America and will again be behind the wheel of the Team Penske No. 22 Ford at Mid-Ohio. Though Elliott will encounter a much slower layout at Mid-Ohio this weekend, he hopes to carry over the experience from his first dance with the Glen. "As far as next week at Mid-Ohio goes, I think I learned a lot today," said Elliott , who has a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win under his belt from 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . "Regardless of who's driving, those same cars are going to be there next week, and they're still going to be just as good as they were today. So I expect it to be just as tough next week. Another new race track for me so I've got a lot of studying to do this week throughout the weekdays. Just trying to prepare for another tough week I'm sure." Thought Elliott's name has been linked to potential advancement into the Sprint Cup tour by 2016, the 18-year-old shrugged off the projections last weekend, saying such a move was merely "a thought." He's taken a similar stance to the current season, refusing to look too far forward in the Nationwide Series championship hunt even as he rides a 12-point lead with 12 races to go. "As far as the points deal goes, like I've said all season long, I don't get too caught up in it," Elliott said. "I don't pull it up during the week. I don't worry about it. In my book, it's very important. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to be in the position we are. But we've got to take it a week at a time. When you get caught up in it, that's when I think things can go south. So just trying to focus running well and contending for wins is the best way to go about the championship. "Right, wrong or indifferent, that's how I'm going to approach it probably throughout the rest of my career, and I hope we're in this position again." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Q-and-A with mother of Chase Elliott , wife of Bill Elliott
KBM driver will change numbers at Martinsville in tribute to 2015 NASCAR Hall inductee CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the year since his first victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , Darrell Wallace Jr. says he has learned much about former driver Wendell Scott . When Wallace won the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway last October, he became the first African-American to win a race in one of NASCAR's three national series since Scott accomplished the feat nearly 50 years earlier. "I didn't know he lived only 30 minutes away (from the Martinsville track)," Wallace said of the Danville, Virginia, native. "I didn't know his family was there (that day)." Wallace will be one of two NASCAR drivers to honor the long-time racer when the Camping World Truck and Sprint Cup Series return to the 0.526-mile track Oct. 24-26. Wallace's Kyle Busch Motorsports entry, pictured below, normally sporting the No. 54 on its sides and roof, will sport a blue No. 34 with red trim under which Scott competed. Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan 's No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford will feature a similar blue paint scheme reminiscent of that used by Scott. Both vehicles will carry NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee markings to promote Scott's upcoming induction. Wallace, who has since picked up NCWTS wins at Gateway and Eldora, said he had watched a documentary detailing Scott's NASCAR career before his Martinsville victory. "It was rough to watch, for sure," Wallace, 20, said during Tuesday's unveiling, which was held in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "It reminds me of watching "42" (The Jackie Robinson Story) a couple of weeks ago just to see what Jackie Robinson went through. It kind of makes you appreciate things more in life away from racing, just life itself. "To be able to carry the torch that Wendell (lit), for me to put our Toyota in Victory Lane last year and now to come back a year later with the iconic No. 34 that myself and David will run, it's going to be a good weekend." Scott earned one win, 20 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes in 495 career starts in NASCAR's premier series. Between 1964 and '69, he never finished lower than 12th in the points standings, and posted a career-best sixth in 1966. Scott will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 30, 2015, along with fellow inductees Bill Elliott , Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. Anne B. France will be honored with the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
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