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
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
Elliott tops opening practice, while Larson tops final practice
Q-and-A with mother of Chase Elliott , wife of Bill Elliott
After two consecutive road races, rookie extended points lead from two to 10
See where your favorite driver will pit in the Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) MORE: Food City 300 lineup RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Food City 300 and got his choice of pit stalls for the race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Busch will occupy the pit stall closest to the Turn 1 exit on pit road and will have an opening in front of him. "Rowdy" is not the only driver to have an opening in front of him. Chase Elliott (starting fourth), Erik Jones (starting sixth) and Regan Smith (starting eighth) all have pit stalls with open space in front. Cale Conley has the pit stall closest to the pit road entrance. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
With Elliott's consistent success, many overlook the fact that he's still a rookie
Chase Elliott holds off Trevor Bayne to earn his third NNS win of the season in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300.
Chase Elliott talks about holding off talented drivers to get the win at Chicagoland Speedway.