RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- All the positives -- the determined late-race comeback, leading the most laps, moving up a rung in the standings -- meant little to Chase Elliott in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's matinee at Road America . His own harshest critic, Elliott didn't hold back in giving his performance a scathing review. "Absolutely terrible job on my part," Elliott said after a fourth-place finish in the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville. "That was the worst race, just beyond way too many mistakes. Just absolutely screwed that up, so terrible day for me. I hate it for my guys. I had such a good car and I let 'em down." The clouds that hung over the 4.048-mile road course were missing the silver linings, according to the defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, who guided the JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet from 11th place over the final four-lap stretch to the checkered flag in the 45-lap event. That span was part of an even bigger rally, from 23rd place after his final pit stop on Lap 30, just two laps after an off-course excursion at Turn 11 that cost him plenty of momentum. Both comebacks left him with little consolation. "Top five's not a win," Elliott said. "Have to be honest with yourself. I screwed it up." The negative side of Elliott's day didn't resonate as strongly with crew chief Ernie Cope, who discussed the race at length with the 19-year-old driver in the XFINITY garage. "He is hard on himself. He expects to win and he doesn't want to let us down, which he didn't," Cope said. "He came back in three laps and went from (11th) to fourth, so I look at that. I mean, we were pinned back there and then passing about seven cars in three laps. I mean, you're going to have altercations during it." The ending was a sharp contrast to how Elliott's day started. The youngster started on the front row after Coors Light Pole Qualifying was scratched by rain, then jumped out to lead the opening 12 laps. After briefly giving up the top spot on an early exchange of pit stops for fuel strategy, Elliott reassumed the lead, stretching it to more than 12 seconds during the dominant first half. "It was as good as it looked and by far I feel like the best road race car I've ever had," said Elliott , who led 23 of the 45 laps. "I was beyond pleased with the race car. It wasn't the race car's fault, I can tell you that." Elliott pitted after putting all four tires into the grass off the 14-turn circuit's kink, apologizing to his JRM crew over the radio after leaving pit road back in the pack. From there, though, his comeback trail began, only to be stemmed by a six-lap caution period -- a seeming eternity on the lengthy course -- after multiple breakages and fluid leaks in the pack delayed the final restart. "They're going caution after caution after caution, but I still feel like we would've had time to get back up there and have a shot at winning as good as the car was," Cope said. "You just don't know how they're going to fall. It was just a bad storm." Once the clouds lifted, Cope took solace in the big-picture plusses. With 10 races left in the season, Elliott now sits in second place in the standings, supplanting Ty Dillon , who took 10th Saturday. Elliott's top-five result, combined with series leader Chris Buescher 's ninth-place run, chopped his deficit to just 16 points heading to next weekend's event at Darlington Raceway . "Looking at the positives, we gained seven, but it was a day we could've gotten 15," Cope said of the points tally. "But it's all good. We're right where we need to be. That puts us back (to) second, we're only 16 out of it and we're going to go stomp their asses at Darlington."
Photo credit -- Chase Elliott 's Instagram @chaseelliott9 RELATED: Series standings At only 19 years old, Chase Elliott already has a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, is currently contending for a second one and has a pretty sweet job lined up next year taking over the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for retiring four-time Sprint Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon . Not only has Elliott's racing career taken off, he has too -- literally -- having just earned his private pilot license on July 23. And the view from above is something he's wanted his whole life. It seems Elliott got more than the racing gene from his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , as he has inherited the flying bug from his dad, an accomplished and avid aviator. "He's been flying a long time so I've always been around it since I was little," Elliott said of his father. "I've watched him fly for years and years and been fortunate enough to have access to his planes and sit up front and watch him fly them so I've always definitely interested in it. "It's one of those things where the more you do it, the more you become interested in it. And the more you get into it, the more intriguing it becomes. I learn something new every time I fly. "It's definitely tough to (master all the necessary lessons). A lot of things come along with it. But flying is a privilege and something you can't take lightly ever." A lot of the same traits -- discipline, smarts and dedication -- Elliott put into his burgeoning racing career he used to earn the pilot license. He actually started taking lessons while still in high school but it was such a busy time between school, racing and flying lessons that Elliott put off finishing his license until a few months ago with the support of his dad. "It's something you work hard for to achieve," Bill Elliott said. "I see so many people who have gone through a lot of the flying part and the learning curve but never went on and got their pilot licenses and they always regretted it. I told Chase , 'You need to go on and get this done.' "I'm glad he did. That's something he'll carry with him regardless of where racing takes him." The Elliotts join an impressive list of NASCAR drivers who have secured private pilot licenses including Carl Edwards , Greg Biffle , Matt Kenseth and retired drivers Mark Martin , Rusty Wallace, Cale Yarborough and Ricky Rudd. Ryan Newman 's wife Krissie flies helicopters. Similarly, Elliott figures having the ability to pilot an airplane can be as much a practicality as it is a luxury. His father helped secure him a Cessna 182 single-engine, four-seater to use and Elliott is eager to start flying to races closer than home. Last week, he flew to Bristol. He has also posted a photo of himself practicing grass landings on Instagram. "Absolutely, it's a major convenience if you need to go somewhere, you can turn a four-hour drive into an hour-and-a-half flight," Elliott said. "Time is valuable for anybody and any chance to make up time like that is great." Elliott wasn't sure if he would fly himself to this weekend's XFINITY Series race at Road America , but he is looking forward to the stand-alone road race regardless. It's the third road course race in the last four weeks for the series and Elliott is one of the series regulars who embraces the opportunity to turn right. He is on a six-race run of top-10 finishes in his No. 9 NAPA Chevy and currently trails championship leader Chris Buescher by 23 points in the standings. He has finishes of seventh (Watkins Glen) and fifth (Mid-Ohio) in the two road races this year and finished fourth at Road America last season. "I thought last year was a good learning experience," Elliott said. "I was really pleased with Watkins Glen. I'm still learning on my end, but thought we had good cars this year and that's a big step in right direction." For Elliott , that direction is up.
Check out the original paint scheme Chase Elliott is paying homage to at Darlington Raceway.
Chase Elliott expresses his disappointment with his finish at Road America after leading early.
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Roush Fenway Racing 's Greg Biffle likely needs a win in the next four races to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , but he'll have to do so while working with a new spotter. According to RFR, Jason Reiner will replace Joel Edmonds as Biffle's spotter this weekend at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Reiner has spotted for Chase Elliott . "It is not one of the changes I was looking for, but it was time to head down a different path for the company," Biffle said. "Like I said, it was not preferable to start with a new spotter, especially with Bristol next weekend and four races before the Chase , but it is a business and we will work for it the best we can to get up to speed with listening to a new guy up top." Biffle leads active drivers with four Cup victories at Michigan, with his most recent win coming in 2013. He has 15 top-10 finishes in 25 Cup races at the track. Biffle is 80 points behind Clint Bowyer for the 16th and final Chase slot. He finished in the top five two races ago at Pocono Raceway, one of two top-five finishes this season (the other coming at Charlotte). "Greg has won two of the most significant races we've won here -- the 100th anniversary for Ford Motor Company and the 1,000th win for Ford," team owner Jack Roush said about Biffle's success at Michigan. "We are looking forward to the new setup here with the aero and we look forward to seeing what we can do."
RELATED: See all the paint schemes for Darlington Darlington Raceway will host the Bojangles' Southern 500 this weekend. Numerous teams are participating in the throwback theme at the South Carolina track and paying homage to some of NASCAR's most famous cars -- and drivers. Here's how some of the cars looked originally, with footage of the vehicles driving around Darlington. Brad Keselowski Brad Keselowski 's scheme is paying homage to Bobby Allison's car in the 1983 Southern 500. " Watch old footage of Allison's car in action Austin Dillon Austin Dillon is keeping it in the family and honoring grandfather Richard Childress. The paint scheme of the No. 3 Chevrolet is a tribute to Childress' car during the 1979 Southern 500. " Watch old footage of Childress' car in action Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin 's No. 11 JGR Toyota mirrors the car of NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough's look from 1973. " Watch old footage of Yarborough's car in action Ricky Stenhouse Jr . Ricky Stenhouse Jr . is honoring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson and paying tribute to his car from the 1968 Southern 500. " Watch old footage of Pearson's car in action Chase Elliott The No. 25 of Chase Elliott is one of the many cars getting a vintage makeover. Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet resembles the paint scheme of his father Bill Elliott 's car from 1974. " Watch old footage Elliott's car in action Kyle Larson Kyle Larson 's No. 42 Chevrolet is going to replicate Kyle Petty's Mello Yello look. " Watch old footage of Petty's car in action Clint Bowyer As Clint Bowyer looks for a strong performance at Darlington in hopes to maintain his spot on the Chase Grid, his car will be rocking a pretty awesome paint scheme honoring the late Buddy Baker. Bowyer's Toyota is similar to Baker's No. 15 Ford from the 1974 Southern 500. " Watch old footage of Baker's car in action
Chase Elliott and Brandon Jones crash off Turn 4 at Iowa Speedway after Jones thought he was clear of the No. 9.
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- The decision to compete in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR XFINITY Series sixth annual Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America (Wisconsin) paid off in a huge way for Paul Menard , who scored his third career XFINITY victory at his hometown track. Menard, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, started eighth and saw a decision to stay out after pitting on Lap 24 work to his advantage as he edged out a relentless Ryan Blaney by 0.573 seconds at the 14-turn road course. After the contest, Menard said had the race extended a lap farther, he would not have collected his first XFINITY win since Michigan International Speedway last June. "I've been really fortunate to win at some of the coolest tracks, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Road America is right there," Menard said. "These guys called a great race. We didn't have the fastest car. We had a really good short run car. We really burned off the rear tires as we ran, but the Richmond Water Heaters/Menards Chevrolet was fast and (crew chief Danny) Stockman made a hell of a call at the end." If wondering about running out of fuel wasn't enough, Menard also had to fend off a hard-charging Blaney. "I was definitely concerned," added Menard on both circumstances. "I was saving as much as I could under caution, but then when we fired off I was just chattering the left rear tire really bad. It took a couple of laps for it to come in, then the (No.) 22 started burning his stuff up, but it just didn't fire off very good in the end, but it came to us." After inclement weather forced the cancellation of Coors Light Pole qualifying, Ben Rhodes earned the top starting spot based upon turning the fastest lap at the 4.048-mile road course in the first XFINITY Series practice session Friday afternoon. Rhodes, a NASCAR Next alum, would find himself under pressure from the drop of the green flag when JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott made the move for the lead in Turn 1. Quickly, though, the field would be under the first full-course caution of the day when Tomy Drissi found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 5. Racing resumed on Lap 4 with Elliott checking out from the field and before the first round of green-flag pit stops. The reigning champion stretched his lead to over 10 seconds, when he relinquished the top spot on Lap 11 for a routine pit stop. Championship contender Ty Dillon inherited the lead when Elliott pitted. Dillon, who finished 10th, stretched his fuel run an extra lap to earn a crucial bonus point toward the championship picture. When pit stops cycled through, Elliott reclaimed the point on Lap 16 and built a 13.7-second lead over second-place Brian Scott at the halfway mark. On Lap 22, the second caution waved for fluid on the track, erasing Elliott's substantial advantage. Despite half of the field electing to come to pit road for service behind them, Elliott and his JRM team stood firm on their plan and stayed out. On the restart, Elliott withstood a challenge for Brian Scott and Ryan Blaney , but in Turn 14 and through the frontstretch, Scott mounted the pressure and made the move on Elliott to take the lead on Lap 27. Unable to make it to the end on fuel, Scott pitted under green on Lap 29 handing the lead to defending race winner Brendan Gaughan . Three laps later, though, Gaughan pitted, handing the lead to hometown hero Paul Menard who pitted during the second caution with 13 laps remaining. Planning to stay out till the end, Menard in saving mode purposely gave up the lead to Blake Koch ,who led with 10 laps remaining when pole-sitter Rhodes found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 7 issuing the third full course caution. During the extended caution, Koch lost power, putting Menard back at the point. On the Lap 41 restart, Menard withstood challenges from Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blaney to seal the win in his 197th career start. Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a trip to the track dubbed "Too Tough To Tame" at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 on Sept. 5 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
RELATED: Practice 2 results The NASCAR XFINITY drivers were battling some weather conditions during the second practice session on Friday afternoon with light rain. Despite the rain, Paul Menard was the fastest during the second practice at Road America . Menard's No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet clocked in at 108.202 mph. Second on the leaderboard was the No. 54 Toyota of Boris Said , soaring around the 4.048-mile road course at 108.044 mph. Chase Elliott 's No. 9 Chevrolet had some speed in the second session with a quickest lap of 107.672 mph, followed by the No. 22 Ford of Ryan Blaney (107.656 mph), for fourth on the leaderboard. Rounding out the top five was the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (107.636 mph). NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville is set for Saturday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/ Live Extra ). The Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Live Extra. , MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Practice 1 results Ben Rhodes topped the leaderboard for Friday afternoon's first NASCAR XFINITY Series practice session at Road America for the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville. Rhodes' No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 108.500 mph. The No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Chase Elliott was next on the leaderboard, clocking in a fastest lap of 108.133 mph. Last week's winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ryan Blaney , rounded out the top three with a fast lap of 108.039 mph in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. The No. 42 Chevrolet of Justin Marks (107.948 mph) and the No. 2 Chevrolet of Brian Scott (107.947 mph) came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Points leader Chris Buescher just missed the top five as he had a fastest lap of 107.879 mph and was sixth on the leaderboard. The race at Road America is the final road course race of the 2015 season for the XFINITY Series.
RELATED: Complete race lineup Ben Rhodes won the Twenty One Means Twenty One pole for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville on Saturday as rain washed out the qualifying session. Rhodes, who was the 2014 K&N Pro Series East champion, landed on the front row for Saturday's race (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) based on his top speed in the first practice. Defending XFINITY series champion Chase Elliott will start alongside Rhodes on the front row for the 45-lap race on the 4.048-mile Wisconsin road course. For Rhodes, a NASCAR Next product and the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, this was his first pole in a major NASCAR series. This will be Rhodes' seventh race this season in the XFINITY Series. He finished 35th and 10th in this year's previous road-course races at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio, respectively. Ryan Blaney , Justin Marks and Brian Scott rounded out the top five in the starting lineup. Current series points leader Chris Buescher was sixth. And Boris Said , the highest-ranking Toyota driver, was seventh in what may be his last NASCAR race. RELATED: Is this Said's final run?