Talladega Superspeedway

Chase Elliott sports shoes honoring father’s historic 1987 qualifying run at Talladega

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Talladega Superspeedway is big part of the Elliott family’s history and this weekend marks the anniversary of one of its most iconic moments.

Thirty years ago, Bill Elliott set the NASCAR record for fastest qualifying average with a speed of 212.809 mph qualifying for the Winston 500. It’s a mark that stands today.

The top qualifying speed in the last two Cup races at Talladega were 193.423 mph and 192.661 mph.

Elliott’s son, Chase Elliott, showed up to the 2.66-mile track Friday with a special set of shoes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the event.

The shoes resemble the Coors Light paint scheme Bill Elliott drove during his time with Melling Racing in the 1980s. The pair has the car’s No. 9 on it as well the slogan “World’s Fastest Car.”

30 years ago this weekend the ole 9 ran 212 here at Talladega, these kicks have me fired up! Pretty damn cool.

A post shared by Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott24) on

“I’m really excited about them,” Chase Elliott said Friday. “I would take them off and show you but it would take me a minute to get them off. … That car, he still has a few of his Coors cars in the shop and I always think it’s cool to look at them and see how they were built, what they put into them and just how simple everything was.”

Bill Elliott won at Talladega twice in 1985 and 1987 while also claiming six straight poles. His first win in 1985 was the biggest come from behind victory in NASCAR history.

His Talladega record came three months after he set the record at Daytona with a speed of 210.364 mph.

“At Talladega you don’t feel the speed like you do at Daytona because of the transitions and tightness of the corners,” the NASCAR Hall of Famer said in a release from Ford. “Talladega was built for those speeds and the transitions were so much easier. You picked up the bank before you got to the corner at Talladega while Daytona was totally the opposite, you kind of ran in the corner before you picked up all of the banking.”

The 1988 Cup champion said one of the keys to make his No. 9 Ford – or any other car – a rocket ship was in how the rear spoiler was handled.

“You still had to do everything you could to make the car really uncomfortable to run fast,” Bill Elliott said. “There were guys over there before qualifying taking the rear spoilers off, but you couldn’t drive them. You had to have a little bit of downforce or you couldn’t drive them, so you just had to get to that point where you took as much off as you could and still be able to make it around the race track.”

“Awesome Bill” said his qualifying mark put an “exclamation point” on his families’ legacy in the sport.

“We came out of nothing,” Elliott said. “We came out of a little town in Dawsonville, Georgia that wasn’t even on the map. We were kind of like David and Goliath with what we did and what we accomplished.”

The record remains in place in part to NASCAR’s restrictor plates that rob engines of horsepower.

But would Chase Elliott, who has three poles – all at restrictor plate tracks, including one at Talladega – be willing to drive his father’s record-setting car for a few hot laps?

“I don’t know that I can handle it,” the 2016 Cup Rookie of the Year said. “I would definitely try, I would love to give it a shot. But I don’t know I have what it takes to hold it wide open. That’s not easy, back then. They laid the spoiler back and I remember dad telling me stories. They’d basically keep leaning it back until he couldn’t take it anymore. That’s how they figured out when to stop. Kept pushing the limit until he couldn’t drive it, which is pretty cool, really.”

The car Bill Elliott set the record with was donated to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan, by team owner Harry Melling. Like the record in the history books, that’s where it remains today.

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 79: Jason Weigandt on Supercross, Monster and Jimmie Johnson

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Motocross journalist and broadcaster Jason Weigandt joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss the Supercross finale and the start of Outdoor season.

Weigandt, the editor of Racer X online magazine, also discussed how Monster Energy’s new title sponsorship of NASCAR has been perceived in Supercross, which the company has backed since 2008, and why he believes Jimmie Johnson isn’t NASCAR’s most popular driver despite his success.

Weigandt is the play-by-play announcer for the 2017 motocross season, which will be shown on NBCSN as well as on the NBC Sports Gold package (which will offer all motos, qualifiers and practices for the 12-round season as well as on-demand access to the past two seasons).

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

 

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: North Dakota

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Today’s edition of “50 States in 50 Shows” profiles Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota.

The 3/8-mile dirt track is located 110 miles north of Bismarck and is located on the grounds of the North Dakota State Fair.

Watch the video for the full look Nodak Speedway.

 

NASCAR America: Austin Dillon: Feels good to beat Jimmie Johnson in ‘chess match’

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Following the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career, Austin Dillon said he was proud of his team for coming out on top in a “chess match” against Jimmie Johnson.

“We’re chasing down what I consider ‘The GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time),” Dillon told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “Jimmie’s tied with the best of the best. To beat him in a little chess match there at the end, it feels real good. At a track I’ve seen him win multiple races sitting in the stands.”

Dillon was able to make his last tank of gas stretch 70 laps, two more than Johnson, on his way to winning the Coca-Cola 600.

The win comes at a track Dillon has competed on since the early days of his career.

“I grew up racing in the 1/5-mile here, Bandeleros and Legends cars, to get my first win here, there’s nothing better,” Dillon said.

Watch the video for the full interview and to hear Richard Childress’ thoughts on the win.

Something finally goes right for Erik Jones in first Coca-Cola 600

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Image
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CONCORD, N.C. — For the first time since March, fortune finally bounced in Erik Jones‘ favor.

That was after a piece of debris bounced through his grille.

On Lap 20 of the Coca-Cola 600, debris from a wreck between Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski littered the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jones, running in the top 10, managed to avoid the wreck itself. But the rookie couldn’t avoid whatever caused a football-sized hole in the nose of his No. 77 Toyota.

“You start the day off like that and you’re like, ‘Man, it’s not going to be easy,'” said Jones, who finished a career best seventh. “That kind of hurt us all day, I think. Not a ton. Obviously we had still had a fast car, but it was definitely slowing us down some.”

Competing in the longest race of his career to date, the episode looked like the latest in a series of misfortunes that have plagued the driver, who turns 21 on Tuesday.

Jones entered the race with two DNFs in the last three points races and three DNFs if you counted the previous weekend’s All-Star Race.

Before the All-Star Race, Jones caused three cautions at Kansas Speedway for spins before finishing 22nd. He wrecked out at Talladega in a big crash and the week before that was eliminated at Richmond when the race was five laps old.

Entering the longest race of the year, Jones had just one top-10 finish, eighth at Phoenix.

Following the accident Sunday, Jones restarted 27th. The rest of the night was “smooth” on the way to his best finish in 15 Cup starts.

“I think we had a top-five car,” Jones said. “Kind of missed on a couple of adjustments at the end, got behind on the racecar a little bit. Just kind of fell back at the end.”

By the halfway point at Lap 200 and after a 1 hour and 39 minute rain delay, he was in eighth. During the 400-lap race, his average running spot was 11.8.

“We didn’t have any troubles in the pits,” Jones said. “We didn’t have any troubles on the track (after the Lap 20 accident), we had a pretty good car all night. So it was just nice to have a solid night. I feel like we’re plenty capable of running in the top 10 every week, we just got to keep having days and night like this.”

Jones is now 18th in the points standings and 10 points ahead of fellow rookie Daniel Suarez.

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