Rookie finishes seventh but gains little on Chase Elliott , Regan Smith RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today JOLIET, Ill. – Ty Dillon closed the gap on the two drivers in front of him in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings, but the Richard Childress Racing driver knows the gain was a slim one. With only seven races remaining, the opportunities are dwindling. The series returns to action Saturday, Sept. 20 with the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m, ESPNEWS). "Technically, we did what we needed to do, (we) beat the guys that are ahead of us in points, but we've got to do a lot better to get up there in the championship," Dillon said after finishing seventh in Saturday's Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway . Points leader Chase Elliott (JR Motorsports) finished 10th and now leads teammate Regan Smith , who finished eighth, by 18 points. Dillon trails the leader by 40. Elliott Sadler ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Brian Scott (RCR) both finished in the top-10 Saturday and remain fourth and fifth, respectively, in the standings. "We had speed all day, especially on restarts," Dillon said. "We could really go on restarts. But at the start of the race, our splitter kind of detached from the fascia on our front end and had a really bad flutter. Any time it would flutter (the car) would get really tight, so we had to come in and fix that and restart at the back I guess about 70 laps into the race. From there on, it was kind of a battle." Dillon worked his way back inside the top 10 and was running eighth following a restart on Lap 140. When Jeremy Clements brought out the caution at Lap 153, Dillon and his team, led by crew chief Danny Stockman Jr., opted for a fuel-only stop. As a result, he gained four positions to restart fourth. "(We) tried to hold everybody off," Dillon said. "I don't know if we finished sixth or seventh, we were side by side with (Sadler) at the line. ... Not a bad day for the adversity we had to come through." Trevor Bayne finished fifth, highest among the series' regulars. Sprint Cup Series drivers and a part-time Nationwide Series driver in Ryan Blaney swept the top four spots, with Kevin Harvick scoring the victory. It was the 19th top-10 of the season for Dillon, who earned his first career NNS win earlier this year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . But Elliott , like Dillon a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, has three wins and 20 top-10s, while Smith has one win and 22 top-10s. Neither of the JR Motorsports drivers has shown any indication of faltering down the stretch. "We've been kind of battling from behind all year," Dillon admitted. "... Getting behind early in the race is nothing new to us; we're used to fighting from behind. "Hopefully things will start going our way and we run to our full potential." Text goes here MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Late model champion will drive No. 5 at Homestead Josh Berry has picked up his second NASCAR Nationwide Series race for JR Motorsports, team co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced Wednesday on her podcast. On "Fast Lane Family," a radio show Earnhardt Miller hosts as part of Dirty Mo Radio, she announced that Berry would drive the No. 5 Ragu Chevrolet in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "We have worked really hard (for that sponsorship), and we're still working. We'd love to put Josh in more races," Earnhardt Miller said. Berry, who won the track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway this year driving a late model for JRM, finished 12th in his Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway in August. "It's so exciting for me and I'm very thankful that Ragu came on board and everyone at JRM worked as hard as they did," Berry said on the radio show. "It's so cool to see happen." The No. 5 vehicle has been split among Berry, Kevin Harvick , Kasey Kahne and Austin Theriault this season. The team's two full-time drivers, Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , are currently first and second in the points standings. That's not lost on Berry. "I have a pretty good feeling it's going to be a real exciting weekend for all of JR Motorsports that weekend," he said. Click here to listen to this week's episode of Fast Lane Family. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Points leader Chase Elliott says a late race pit road mistake was absolutely unacceptable for his team, while Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Regan Smith discuss the on going battle with their cars and the track in Atlanta.
Chase Elliott , Kevin Harvick and others talk about trying to track down a dominant Kyle Busch.
See the entry list for the Nationwide Series' final standalone of the season RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Entry No. Driver Owner Crew chief Vehicle Sponsor 1 01 Landon Cassill Johnny Davis Dave Fuge 14 Chevrolet TeamJDMotorsports.com 2 2 Brian Scott Richard Childress Phil Gould 14 Chevrolet Shore Lodge 3 3 Ty Dillon Richard Childress Danny Stockman Jr 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops 4 4 Jeffrey Earnhardt Gary Keller Gary Cogswell 14 Chevrolet Bandit 5 5 Austin Theriault Rick Hendrick Ernie Cope 14 Chevrolet Maine Open for Business 6 6 Trevor Bayne Jack Roush Chad Norris 14 Ford AdvoCare 7 7 Regan Smith Kelley Earnhardt-Miller Ryan Pemberton 14 Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 8 9 Chase Elliott Dale Earnhardt Jr Greg Ives 14 Chevrolet NAPA AUTO PARTS 9 10 Jeff Green Mark Smith Todd Myers 14 Toyota Supportmilitary.org 10 11 Elliott Sadler J D Gibbs Chris Gayle 14 Toyota OneMain Financial 11 13 Carl Long Derek White Kevin Eagle 13 Dodge OCR GAZ BAR 12 14 Eric McClure Mark Smith Wes Ward 14 Toyota Hefty Ultimate / Reynolds Wrap 13 16 Ryan Reed Jack Roush Seth Barbour 14 Ford ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes 14 17 Tanner Berryhill Adrian Berryhill Daniel Stillman 14 Dodge NationalCashLenders.com 15 19 Mike Bliss Mark Smith Paul Clapprood 14 Toyota TriStar Motorsports 16 20 Justin Boston(i) Joe Gibbs Kevin Kidd 14 Toyota Zloop 17 22 Michael McDowell(i) Roger Penske Jeremy Bullins 14 Ford Discount Tire 18 23 Carlos Contreras Robert Richardson Sr George Church 14 Chevrolet 28 Special/Vol 19 28 J J Yeley James Whitener Steve Plattenberger 13 Dodge Texas 28 Spirits Stage 20 31 Chase Pistone(i) Steve Turner Shannon Rursch 14 Chevrolet TDB 21 33 Cale Conley(i) Richard Childress Nick Harrison 14 Chevrolet IAVA 22 39 Ryan Sieg Rod Sieg Kevin Starland 14 Chevrolet RSS Racing 23 40 Matt Dibenedetto Curtis Key Sr Gary Showalter 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 24 42 Dylan Kwasniewski Harry Scott Jr Scott Zipadelli 14 Chevrolet Up & Up 25 43 Dakoda Armstrong Richard Petty Philippe Lopez 14 Ford WinField 26 44 Blake Koch Mark Smith Greg Conner 14 Toyota Centershot 27 46 Josh Wise(i) Curtis Key Sr Gary Showalter 14 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 28 51 Jeremy Clements Tony Clements Ricky Pearson 14 Chevrolet Allsouthelectric.com/Value Lighting 29 52 Joey Gase Jimmy Means Tim Brown 14 Chevrolet TBA 30 54 Sam Hornish Jr J D Gibbs Adam Stevens 14 Toyota Monster Energy 31 55 Jamie Dick Jimmy Dick Mark Setzer 14 Chevrolet Viva Auto Group 32 60 Chris Buescher Jack Roush Scott Graves 14 Ford Roush Performance Parts 33 62 Brendan Gaughan Richard Childress Shane Wilson 14 Chevrolet South Point 34 70 Derrike Cope Mary Louise Miller Bobby Burrell 14 Chevrolet YOUTHEORY 35 172 John Jackson James Carter Richard Garcia 14 Chevrolet Crash Claims R US 36 74 TBA Mike Harmon Scott Stolzenberg 12 Dodge TBA 37 180 Ross Chastain(i) Shigeaki Hattori Bruce Cook 14 Toyota ADVICS/CMW 38 87 Joe Nemechek(i) Andrea Nemechek Steven Gray 14 Ford TBD 39 89 Morgan Shepherd Morgan Shepherd Kevyn Rebolledo 14 Chevrolet Courtney Construction 40 93 Mike Wallace Gregg Mixon David Goulet 13 Dodge JGL Racing 41 99 James Buescher Robby Benton Matthew Lucas 14 Toyota TBA (i) equals ineligible for driver championship points MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
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
Current pit boss Greg Ives moving to Sprint Cup with Dale Jr. RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live Chase Elliott 's crew chief vacancy for the 2015 Nationwide Series season was filled on Monday. JR Motorsports announced that veteran crew chief Ernie Cope will serve as the crew chief for the No. 9 team next season. Elliott's current crew chief, Greg Ives, is making the move to the Sprint Cup Series to serve as Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's crew chief for the No. 88 team of Hendrick Motorsports next season as Steve Letarte heads to the broadcast booth with NBC. "It became clear rather quickly that the best option for Chase and the NAPA team next year is already in this building," JRM general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said in a release. "Ernie builds fast cars, has a good rapport with Chase , and is familiar with the inner-workings of our company. Hopefully that will create a seamless transition at the end of the year, and the No. 9 team will continue its championship form right into 2015." Cope has been the crew chief for JRM's third, part-time car this season, which has usually been the No. 5 car. He has three wins this season atop the pit box, two coming with Kevin Harvick and one with Kasey Kahne . "Kevin and I have enjoyed a lot of success, and we're not done yet," Cope said in a release. "There is a lot of racing left this year, but in putting the pieces together for 2015, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to compete the full race schedule." Cope later added: " Chase Elliott is an extremely talented race car driver." Cope and Elliott were paired together at Road America when Ives had to miss the race due to the birth of his third child. Elliott finished fourth. A crew chief for the No. 5 team in 2015 has not yet been determined, according to the release. In his rookie season, Elliott has nabbed three wins and currently leads the Nationwide Series point standings. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Pressure ramps up as Nationwide Series title race heats up
How the prospect's outstanding Nationwide season almost didn't take place