running with the pack

NASCAR America: Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott are among the ‘best of the rest’

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Much of the attention at Miami last weekend was focused on the Championship 4 as Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch battled for the Cup title.

There were points races throughout the field, however, and on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America Parker Kligerman and Dale Jarrett highlighted several drivers who made up the “best of the rest”.

“For (Chase Elliott) it goes back to the fact of it was always about getting that first win,” Kligerman said. “Once he could mentally – and the team could mentally – convince themselves they could win, the floodgates would open and that’s what we saw.”

Aric Almirola had the same average finish (8.6) as Logano during the playoffs and that contributed to his fifth-place position in the points.

“If you look at the first half of the season compared to what they did in the playoffs, it’s astonishing,” Kligerman said. “And Johnny Klausmeier, his crew chief, told me once we start going back to these tracks the second time and as young team really figuring out what we needed, we started to click.”

Erik Jones, Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger were also mentioned as notable drivers at various points during the season.

For more, watch the video above.

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NASCAR America: Overlooked performances from Chicagoland

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Every week on NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill discuss overlooked performances from the previous Cup race.

Tuesday, they looked at how Bubba Wallace and Kasey Kahne did in the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Wallace finished 23rd in the race, but Kligerman said this is notable after how poorly Wallace fared the previous week at¬†Sonoma Raceway.

“They were terrible, I know because I actually out qualified Bubba Wallace and he ran behind me the whole time and I just knew he was struggling,” Kligerman said. “To go to a track he’s a little more comfortable at and get a solid top-25 finish, this is what you want to see out of this race team.”

Wallace and the No. 43 team head to Daytona this weekend where Wallace finished second in February’s Daytona 500. Since the 500, he was only one finish better than 16th (eighth at Texas).

“The expectations for this team have to be when they are on their best days they’re fighting for a top 15 and a top 20,” Kligerman said.Watch the above video for more on Kahne and his crew chief, Jon Leonard.