Smith, Wallace share fiery exchange on pit road
Smith loses his Nationwide Series points lead to Elliott Sadler
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Gaughan wins in thrilling finish at Road America
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Chase Elliott helping kids near his home track
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta " Get the 'Chase U' ticket package For Chase Elliott , a fondness for Atlanta Motor Speedway is only natural. The track sits roughly 90 miles south of his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia, and his famous father, Bill, enjoyed success as a five-time winner on the Atlanta high banks. Plans are already in place to make this week a busier, more heartfelt homecoming than normal. It involves giving back, both to the area and to the venue that's been so intertwined with his family's racing history. Thursday, the 21-year-old driver plans a visit to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to visit with young patients and announce the launch of the Chase Elliott Foundation, which will present its first donation to the pediatric hospital. The charitable organization will also reveal the details of a special program that will have Elliott and his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates -- Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne -- sporting some snazzy footwear this weekend for a special cause. "Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, they've always been so kind to us," Elliott said. "Obviously they're very well known for the job they do for kids and treating different sicknesses. Doing a great job with that is the most important thing. Anything we can do to try to grow that awareness and help them out, we're definitely all-in for it. Their entire staff has always been very gracious and easy to work with in our hometown." To help amplify the debut initiative for Elliott's foundation, all four Hendrick drivers helped to judge a drawing contest by young patients at the hospital. After handpicking their favorite designs, the next step was to enlist Alpinestars, an Italian maker of performance gear, to bring the colorful shoes to life. The designs will be revealed Thursday, and the foundation plans to auction off all four pairs after Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . "I'm really excited about that, and I really appreciate all three guys giving up whatever shoe they (regularly) wear to do that this weekend," Elliott says. "It's really nice of them and I appreciate that." Home track memories Elliott will be making only his second Atlanta start in the Monster Energy Cup Series this weekend, putting him just 60 starts shy of the career mark established by his father from 1976-2010. Still, his connection to the 1.54-mile track runs deep with a wealth of memories growing up. Elliott's most prominent childhood remembrance of the home-state speedway involves simply being a kid -- one who probably skirted the rules by shimmying to the top of a tubular jungle-gym that used to be in the infield. "I reference playgrounds a lot because I was always playing on them when I was little," Elliott says. "Atlanta had a cool playground because you could actually climb up the outside of it and get on top and it was a great place to watch the race. I remember always climbing on top of this thing -- I don't think you were supposed to do that -- and watching the races. That's my Atlanta memory when I was little." The race track is now Elliott's playground, one that will get some extra use this weekend. Elliott also plans to participate in Saturday's Camping World Truck Series event as part of a four-team effort from GMS Racing, which celebrated a championship with Johnny Sauter last year and a Daytona victory with rookie Kaz Grala last weekend. With on-track double duty and his foundation's activation already on his loaded plate, Elliott's also making an effort to help attract younger fans to the historic venue. He has lent his name to a ticket combo called Chase U that's designed to give college students the works -- parking, food and drinks, live music and a grandstand seat for $24, a figure that not coincidentally matches Elliott's car number. "It's basically just a cost-effective ticket package for students to come, have a place to hang out and party and tailgate before a race and enjoy the race," Elliott said. "I just thought it'd be cool to kind of incorporate something along those lines to a race weekend, and Atlanta's been doing a really good job about getting the word out with that and trying to get some exposure with it." For all generations of fans, there will be plenty to see. The race will mark the 2,500th event for NASCAR's top division and will be the final race on the 20-year-old asphalt before a repaving project begins this spring. The last time the track had fresh pavement applied was part of a major reconfiguration project, when Atlanta flipped the frontstretch and backstretch and added the dogleg to the true-oval layout that was home to so many Bill Elliott successes. Chase Elliott was just shy of his second birthday when that configuration debuted in 1997. The impending move to new pavement will likely bring challenges during its breaking-in period, but Elliott plans a fond farewell to the aging surface -- the second-oldest on the circuit -- which is expected to produce multi-groove racing with plenty of slipping and sliding through the field. "I think we all have mixed opinions on the repave, but I'm sure there are some similarities from the old layout to what it is now," Elliott said. "We haven't really talked about that a ton, but I'm curious to see this last race and I'm going to enjoy this last race on the old surface."
Despite falling short, Elliott runs masterful race
RELATED: Race results " Elliott joins elite list with back-to-back poles MORE: Elliott through the years DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott led the Daytona 500 field to the green flag Sunday, a repeat pole-starter in NASCAR's crown-jewel race. Similarly to last year, the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year victor was unable to lead the field to the checkered flag. This time, however, an empty fuel cell was the culprit. Elliott led five times for 39 laps, a total second only to early leader Kevin Harvick . But his powerful Speedweeks -- with a Coors Light Pole Award, a Can-Am Duel victory and tons of momentum -- fizzled when he sputtered off the pace just two and half laps from the finish. "Out of gas," Elliott signaled over the radio as his blue-and-yellow Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet slowed toward the inside lane on the backstretch. Elliott was able to salvage a lead-lap finish in 14th, but it was far from the ultimate prize -- a breakthrough Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory on the sport's grandest stage. Elliott emerged from his car and left the track quickly, hopping into a waiting vehicle with his father -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott -- driving. But he struck a regretful but pragmatic tone in a post-race tweet, saying, "Lessons learned the hard way today, let's get to Atlanta!" Before his fuel tank ran dry, Elliott had led 23 consecutive laps -- the longest sustained span up front of the entire race. But the race-long dicing had given way to a settled, single-file pack with his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, concerned about his car's mileage. Leading the way and burning up precious fuel with zero aerodynamic tow wasn't helping. "We knew we were short, but what do you do?," Gustafson told NASCAR.com. "It's hard to say hey, let's give up the Daytona 500 or follow in third or fourth. The way the shuffle ended up, Kurt was probably in the best spot because he could save a little fuel, whereas us and the 78 ( Martin Truex Jr .) and the 42 ( Kyle Larson , also in the top five) were having to run wide-open. "I think we did all we could in the circumstances. We knew we were going to be really close, just ended up short." Also working against Elliott was the 47-lap green flag stretch -- the race's longest -- that preceded the dramatic end. "We were hoping for a few cautions and I think if we were in third or fourth, we could've saved it, but I wasn't about to give up the lead of the Daytona 500 and say 'hey, we've got to fall back and save gas,' " Gustafson said. "Little bit of wishful thinking and hoping the circumstances would play our way." Elliott otherwise ran a masterful race, exhibiting patience on a day when it was in short supply for several in the field. Elliott has taken defeat hard in the past, but Gustafson said he had no concerns about Sunday's defeat rattling his 21-year-old driver. "There's nothing he can do. I'd rather lose like that than I would be sitting in the garage or running 12th or 13th or 10 or lucking into a fifth, right? I don't think that's a bad thing. You go to the race track and you fight your guts out, and you win the pole, you win a Duel and lead the Daytona 500 with two laps to go. I don't know that you should be sad about that."
Chase Elliott captures back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Full results DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Winning back-to-back Daytona 500 poles is something of a family tradition, as Chase Elliott proved by the skin of his teeth Sunday at Daytona International Speedway . The last driver to take a lap in the second and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Elliott covered the distance in 46.663 seconds (192.872 mph) to edge Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr . by .002 seconds. The pole was the second straight for Elliott , who led the field to green last year as a Sunoco rookie. It was the third straight for Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, who won the pole with driver Jeff Gordon in 2015 in Gordon's last year as a full-time driver. With three straight poles as a crew, Gustafson shares a record previously held solely by Ernie Elliott , Chase Elliott 's uncle, who fielded cars driven by former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott , Chase's father. "Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season," said Elliott , who claimed the third Coors Light Pole Award of his career, all at restrictor-plate tracks. "This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then last year with here and Talladega (where Elliott also won the pole). "But that stuff doesn't just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster, and the engine shop is always finding new things. So I think that's just proof that they're improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. "I'm happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we can run good next Sunday." Elliott and Earnhardt are the only two drivers locked into their starting spots for next Sunday’s 59th running of the "Great American Race" (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They will lead the field to the green flag in both Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- Elliott in the first Duel, Earnhardt in the second. Earnhardt is racing for the first time since a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 events of the 2016 season. The satisfaction of locking in a front-row starting position tempered his disappointment at missing the pole by the slimmest of margins. "I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man (Rick Hendrick) is happy," Earnhardt said. "I just talked to him on the phone, and he's got to be thrilled with having his cars up front." Brad Keselowski qualified third at 192.691 mph and will start on the outside of the front row in Thursday night's first Duel. Clint Bowyer , in his first competitive effort in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, will start beside Earnhardt in the second Duel after posting the fourth-fastest speed (192.571 mph). With 36 chartered teams knowing they will race next Sunday, six Open entries are vying for the four remaining berths in the Daytona 500 field. Sunday's time trials brought good news for Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler , who know they will race next Sunday as the two fastest qualifiers among the "go-fast- or -go-homers." Conversely, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Timmy Hill , who posted the two slowest times in the field, can race in the 500 only if they are the fastest Open drivers in their respective Duels. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
McMurray and Elliott tangle, several involved in aftermath
Jamie McMuray gets Chase Elliott loose and several drivers get caught up in the ensuing wreck, including Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez.
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