Chase Elliott looks outside his comfort zone to race different cars


Chase Elliott will try something new tonight when he makes his sprint car debut in California. It’s part of what has been a yearlong tour of competing in different race cars.

Nitro Rallycross announced Tuesday that Elliott will compete in its season finale Dec. 4-5 at The Firm in North Florida. The event airs on Peacock. This will be Elliott’s first time to compete in the series. He follows Kyle Busch, who competed in Nitro Rallycross in November.

Elliott started 2021 racing a midget car at the Chili Bowl in January and “had a blast” doing so. A couple of weeks later, he made his debut in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, driving for the Action Express Racing team that started on the pole.

After winning two Cup races — at Circuit of the Americas in May and Road America in July — Elliott competed in the SRX event at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville and won that race.

Although his NASCAR Cup season finished a couple of weeks ago, he’s still racing.

Elliott will drive a 360 sprint car and run a midget car tonight and Wednesday at Merced (California) Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson will be there as well and compete in both vehicles.

Elliott and Larson also will race with the USAC midget series Saturday at Ventura (California) Raceway.

Elliott said in January that he was looking to “broadening my horizons” in motorsports.

Rolex 24 at Daytona
Chase Elliott drove this Cadillac DPi with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway during the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

“I think getting outside your comfort zone is huge,” Elliott said at last week’s Next Gen test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I feel like that’s what I’ve really tried hard to challenge myself in doing the past year or so.

“Everything you get in is a little different. Everything you get in has a little different sweet spot of that perfect balance, kind of what you’re trying to achieve on asphalt or dirt, I feel like.”

The result is he’s improved as a driver. That could be a scary thought for the rest of the Cup field. Elliott has made it to the Cup championship race the past two years, winning the crown in 2020.

He seeks to become the fifth driver in the playoff era (since 2014) to make it to the championship race at least three consecutive years. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are the others to do so. Busch made the title race five consecutive years.

“At some point in the process of doing all those things, it really does come back to kind of some simplicity,” Elliott said of racing so many different vehicles. “Typically, wherever you are the most uncomfortable is where you are the most vulnerable. That typically transitions into all cars. Whatever part of the corner that you are most uncomfortable in is probably the area you need to work on the most.

“I feel the people who are most comfortable in areas on track that are typically uncomfortable are going to go fast. That’s where they are going to make time on you. That’s how they’re going to make passes and do all those things. So, I think just driving these different cars just helps you understand those uncomfortable positions and how you can drive through them, or how you can challenge yourself to get better and deal with them.”

Superstar Racing Experience - Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
Chase Elliott finished ahead of Tony Stewart and his father Bill to win the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience event at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. (Photo by Dylan Buell/SRX via Getty Images)

Elliott competed in a midget last week at Placerville (California) Speedway. He failed to advance to the feature the first night and finished 20th in the feature the second night.

“When you’re faced with new challenges, it’s good for you,” Elliott said. “It might not be fun in the moment. You might struggle and be frustrated, but it’s good for you to recognize those things and then be able to relate something back to that maybe later on down the road.

“This sport … anything you drive could potentially apply down the road, and I think that’s important to remember as time goes on.

“I’ve enjoyed the diversity of trying to do different things, and I do feel like it’s been helpful doing.”

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.