Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup explained
As the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup turns 10, get the history, format and more
Elliott's 'Chase U' a big hit with Talladega college students
RELATED: Read more about 'Chase U' TALLADEGA, Ala. -- This crowd of college students was certainly happy to see Chase Elliott. Standing in the outfield of Talladega Superspeedway, they cheered and yelled over the sound of booming rap music for their favorite No. 24 driver's entrance into his Chase University tailgate appearance on Saturday afternoon. Several more asked for autographs, many photos, which Elliott obliged. Picture college students from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia -- or even Indiana, as a fan clad in a Hoosiers cap said -- all together at one tailgate. Except they're rooting for one team here -- Elliott's No. 24 team. "This place is just so well-known for the party, I guess, and people coming and getting rowdy here," Elliott told NASCAR.com on the way over to the event. "So, I think that's probably why more than anything and then that reputation that it has attracts local college students." RELATED: Get the scoop on Chase's special shoes for Talladega Saturday's Chase U appearance was the sixth for Elliott, who started this initiative back in October 2016 because he wanted to provide an affordable good time for college students at the race track. A $24 ticket with a valid college ID grants a student admission to the entire weekend experience, including the race and the tailgate with music, games and more. "I think it's a bargain, really," Elliott said. "There are a lot of things that come along with it for that price. From that side, the race tracks have been great and really good to work with and support that." While Elliott's budding racing career keeps him from having a typical college experience, the Chase U initiative has allowed the 21-year-old to have a little taste of it at the race track. "I have a lot of friends that are in school, so I kind of see some of the things that they do and some of the things that they're interested in," said Elliott, who met three of his buddies at Saturday's tailgate. "So (I) thought it might be a cool way to invite people like that to have a good time. "… To me, (it has been fun) to see some of the different towns that we’ve done it in, some of the different schools and surrounding cities. Just getting to see … the diversity there is fun to see and how people kind of do things different." RELATED: Hooters rewards fans when Elliott nabs a top-five finish Standing up on stage in front of a rather boisterous crowd, Elliott seemed to jell just fine with the collegiate crowd. An avid Georgia Bulldogs fan, Elliott gave a playful thumbs-down to the Alabama fans when the Crimson Tide was brought up, but showed his stamp of approval when the announcer asked if there were any 'Dawgs in the crowd. Talladega was one of the first places the Chase U initiative was implemented last year and a track where Elliott hopes to host another at in the fall, he says. Because for these college students -- and a young driver like Elliott -- it's all about the fun. "I think this one here last year was probably my favorite one here at Talladega," Elliott said. "It was a good turnout; we’re having a great time. And that's really all I'm trying to provide is a fun time. Everybody wants to have fun. That's why people come to races, I hope, and that's my main goal." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chase Elliott rides the wall at Talladega
Watch as Chase Elliott's No. 24 goes on top of the backstretch wall at Talladega Superspeedway
Chase Elliott's shoes honor Bill Elliott's qualifying mark
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Chase Elliott wasn't even a glimmer in father and Hall of Famer Bill Elliott’s eye when the elder Elliott drove the No. 9 Ford at 212.809 mph during qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 1987. That blistering-fast speed -- run before restrictor plates were implemented at superspeedways -- remains the track record today. And 30 years later, the younger Elliott is honoring his father's accomplishment by wearing a special pair of Alpine Stars racing shoes for this weekend's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega. "The shoes, I'm pretty excited about them," Elliott said Friday at Talladega. "Thirty years ago this weekend, Dad ran 212 here, which I think is really, really cool." Like his father's original racing shoes, Elliott's new kicks are red, white and gold. On one side, the shoes read "World's Fastest Race Car" along with Bill Elliott’s name. On the other, the 212.809 mph speed and Elliott No. 9 car number are written. But while Elliott's shoes resemble his famous father's from the iconic 212 mph lap around 'Dega, his No. 24 Chevrolet isn't quite the same. "I don't know that I could handle it, but I would definitely try for sure,” Elliott said lightheartedly when asked if he'd run his father’s 212 mph car wide-open. "I'd love to give it a shot. But I don't know that I would have what it takes to hold it wide-open. "I mean, that's not easy, back then. They laid the spoiler back; I remember dad telling me stories, they basically just kept leaning it back until they he just couldn't take it anymore. That was how they figured out when to stop. He just kept pushing limits until he couldn't drive it, which is pretty cool, really." </p>
Looking for a Loudon Leap: Tony Stewart Chase watch
Tony Stewart gained ground at Kentucky Speedway, helping him stay within the top 30 in the points. Several races, and potential winners, remain before the Richmond cutoff, so is Tony Stewart safe with only his win at Sonoma?
Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger instigate 'Big One' at Talladega
Watch as Chase Elliott gets turned by AJ Allmendinger and causes a multi-car wreck on Lap 168.
Chase's special shoes honor 'Awesome Bill'
Chase Elliott honors dad's qualifying speed mark from 30 years ago with special shoes for this weekend's race at Talladega
H2H: Chase hits halfway; Talladega tempest next
RELATED: See the Chase grid " Chase Bubble Watch The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason is making the turn for home -- five races down and five to go. This weekend's stop on the 10-race ride is among the most pivotal of them all, Sunday's Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Talladega Superspeedway . With the playoff field about to be cut from 12 drivers to a final eight, our Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle pressing topics ahead of a true Chase wildcard: *** Halfway through the Chase , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . have each won twice, leaving Jimmie Johnson as the only other race winner in the postseason's first five races. Will the champion be one of these three or is there still room for a Chase dark horse? Cain: It is highly likely that the champion will come from among these three drivers, who have not only won lately but set the bar this year. With half the Chase remaining, someone else may -- and needs to -- step up, figuring it would be Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano or one of the four remaining Toyota drivers who have led the way. No dark horse here. Albert: There's time left, but that clock -- not to be confused with the Camping World Truck Series' caution clock -- is ticking more urgently. Harvick, Truex and Johnson may be the main Chase triumvirate so far, but I'm holding the door open for a Keselowski-led Penske effort or another Joe Gibbs Racing entry to stage a Round of 12 rally, starting at Talladega. Next year, a schedule shake-up for the Chase's Round of 12 will have Kansas trading places with Talladega to be the three-race series' elimination event. Do you favor the move or was the Charlotte-Kansas-Talladega progression a suitable schedule? Cain: Depending on whom you talk to, Talladega settling the third-round Chase grid was either a huge opportunity or a crazy wild card. Everyone goes into the unpredictable Talladega race feeling like either he/she has a big opportunity or scant chance to emerge. That makes for a heightened excitement level, but the question is whether this type of race should solidify the next round of elimination. Cases can be made either way, but I think the switch-up is a good idea. Albert: Talladega races are heart-clenching enough as it is -- whether it's in the regular season in May, in the playoffs in October or a 20-lap offseason trophy dash for funsies (just a suggestion). Making the schedule shift may slightly reduce spectator palpitations, but the track loses little in stature as the middle event in a three-race series. A more conventional venue such as Kansas makes more sense as the host of an elimination race. The Chase's current bottom four: Austin Dillon , Denny Hamlin , Brad Keselowski , Chase Elliott . Of those four, who is best positioned to take out the math and guesswork and emerge with a season-saving Talladega win? Cain: I truly see any and all four of these with the possibility of point-climbing their way up to Chase advancement. Among them, it's hardest to argue with Keselowski's Talladega resume. He already has two restrictor-plate wins at Daytona in July and at Talladega in the spring. He has lots of good Alabama juju -- scoring his first-ever Cup win at Talladega in 2009 and amassing four total wins there. He's finished in the top five in three of his last trips to the track. Albert: With such a stacked quartet in the Chase basement, this is a tough one. All four drivers have the backing of teams with standout superspeedway programs, and Keselowski has evolved into one of the sport's best at the large, fast ovals where horsepower is restricted. While still imagining some No. 3 magic for Dillon or a No. 24 breakthrough for Elliott, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin gets the slight nod from these parts in a plate-track pick 'em.
Hemric looks to overcome early Chase setback
RELATED: Truck Chase Grid Daniel Hemric clinched his spot in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase playoffs with remarkable consistency and a sizable nest egg of points. Now facing a significant deficit after a perilous postseason opener, stockpiling points may not be enough to keep his championship hopes intact. Hemric enters Saturday night's DC Solar 350 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a much firmer focus on scoring his first victory of the season. "At the end of the day, this deal rewards winning," Hemric said last weekend after finishing a season-worst 28th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . "Yeah, we did it the other way to get here, but I don't know if with the day we had here, we'll be able to salvage it on just points. We've got to go win." The 25-year-old driver for Brad Keselowski Racing spun early in last Saturday's Chase opener, saying he believed he ran over a piece of debris that punctured his left-rear tire. The spent rubber became entangled in the brake assembly, triggering a small flash fire on pit road and eventually forcing his No. 19 Ford behind the wall for extended repairs. The deficit Hemric faces is even more daunting based on the fact that his fellow Chase competitors enjoyed relatively trouble-free days at New Hampshire. Aside from Hemric, the remaining seven Chasers all finished in the top 11. Two races -- this weekend at Vegas and Oct. 22 at Talladega Superspeedway -- remain before two of the eight drivers are eliminated from the playoff picture. Just 27 points separate New Hampshire winner and points leader William Byron and seventh-place Ben Kennedy , but Hemric sits another 20 points behind Kennedy and 21 points behind sixth-place Johnny Sauter . Hemric's regular-season run of reliability -- with top-fives in half of the 16 races -- had earned him a share of the top spot with Byron in the series standings before the points were reset for the postseason. The task of escaping the Chase's bottom two on the basis of points isn't mathematically impossible, but Hemric would rather convert an automatic transfer with a win. "I believe we can," said Hemric, who has come close with seven finishes in the top three this season. "Especially our mile and a half program's been really solid and we've shown that time and time again. That's it. We know what we have to do." While Hemric knows he has two opportunities to regain lost ground, there may extra urgency to find momentum at Las Vegas this weekend rather than roll the dice in the opening round's elimination race at Talladega, where large crashes and wild-card winners are much more probable. "That's the thought," Hemric said. "Nobody wants to go to Talladega knowing they've got to win when everybody has that mentality. The past has shown what happens. Now with the new format, we feel a lot more confident we can just go do our jobs at Vegas and not have to worry about it."
Bing on board for tweaked Chase game
LEARN MORE: Bing: Chase predictions " About Bing RELATED: Play the Chase Grid Battle Game here Let the battle begin. The Chase Grid Battle Game Powered by Bing, a game in which players make round-by-round picks in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , returns for the second consecutive season. Registration is open now. Go here to sign up and start thinking about your strategy before the first postseason race Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway . New this year is the presence of Bing -- and more specifically Bing Predicts, a methodology that uses algorithms to make predictions. Gamers can consider the Bing Predicts tool when playing the Chase Grid Battle Game and have a leg up on the competition. Throughout the summer, Bing Predicts has made accurate forecasts for events such as the Women's World Cup and the Tour de France. Bing will make predictions for drivers advancing to each round throughout the Chase . Right now, the algorithm predicts Kevin Harvick will repeat as Sprint Cup Series champion, besting Kyle Busch , Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski in the Championship Round at Homestead. "We're excited to work with NASCAR to bring the power of Bing's intelligent predictions to The Chase Grid Battle Game to help players up their chances of winning," said Ryan Gavin, general manager of search at Microsoft Corp. "Bing Predicts is quickly becoming the resource for both avid sports fans and casual players to get an edge on the game and impress their friends -- and we're excited to bring it to NASCAR's passionate fan base." Also new in 2015 is a race-by-race scoring format that awards points after each of the 10 Chase races. Prizes for the overall highest score includes a VIP trip to a 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, tickets to a NASCAR driving experience and an autographed driver helmet. The highest- scoring participant after each of the four Rounds in The Chase will also receive $100 to use in the NASCAR.com Superstore. Players can form leagues to compete against friends and other fans, with the option to create up to three entries per user.
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