Long before he started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Chase Elliott developed a special affinity for Bristol Motor Speedway and the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
“Yeah, I think Bristol is the one that kind of has that asterisk next to it for me, just because the environment here is so cool,” Elliott said on Friday before Cup practice. “This fall race, at night, 500 laps — this was one of the events that, when I was a kid, it was larger than life.
“You couldn’t get a ticket for this thing for five years. It was just one of those events that everyone wanted to be at, and if you weren’t there or you weren’t talking about it in the early 2000’s, you weren’t living is how I thought it was.”
In fact, the night race helped shape Elliott’s decision to follow in the footsteps of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.
“When I look back at this event and what I remember of it, this was one of the races that made me want to be a race car driver, honestly,” Elliott said.
“The environment here is unmatched, and this event is special. I don’t see another date or track on our schedule that can rival what this environment is on Saturday night in August or September.”
Ross Chastain Says His No. 1 Trackhouse Chevrolet Still Has The Speed To Win
A quick glance at Ross Chastain’s results over the summer months might lead you to believe that the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet has fallen off in the performance department.
That would be a mistaken assumption, says Chastain, whose record over the last two months has been spotty at best.
“I feel like the pace has not left us,” Chastain said before Friday’s NASCAR Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. “There’s been a lot of mistakes on my part, and then just stuff that’s going to happen in racing, just all kind of piled on for two months in a row there.
“But the pace never left. I never questioned that. It was just a matter of me not messing up, not speeding on pit road, debris in the drive pin holes at Darlington, or just crashing. It’s just eliminating that.”
In a breakout year for himself and for Trackhouse, Chastain won two of the first 10 events of the season and ruffled some feathers along the way. In the seven races after he ran eighth on July 17 at New Hampshire, Chastain posted an average finish of 25.0 and fell from second to eighth in the standings.
After running seventh last Sunday at Kansas, Chastain is 26 points to the good entering Saturday night’s Round of 16 cutoff race at Bristol.
With that margin, Chastain has mixed feelings about taking a conservative approach to the race.
“You never want to crash in practice, especially this year with this car,” Chastain said. “You don’t want to crash. I think that the simple answer is ‘Yes,’ (to a conservative mind-set), but I still want to go fast.
“I know I say I don’t want to be the fastest in practice, but I do. I want to be the fastest. I want to qualify on the pole, and I want to lead 500 laps. (But) there are going to be certain situations where it’s going to be in my best interest to not insert myself.”
Kyle Larson, Sponsor HendrickCars.com Extend Deal With Hendrick Motorsports
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson will drive for Hendrick Motorsports through 2026 with HendrickCars.com as his sponsor, the team announced Friday.
Larson and HendrickCars.com have signed concurrent extensions to that effect.
“When Kyle joined our team, the expectations were sky high from both inside and outside the organization,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “To say he’s exceeded them would be an understatement.
“Not only has Kyle proven himself as a champion driver, he’s performed at a championship level outside of the race car. We’re proud to continue our relationship and to see him represent our team and our brands in such positive ways. The years to come are very bright.”
Larson welcomed the chance to continue his relationship with an organization that has won more Cup championships (14) than any other.
“I can’t explain how much this opportunity means,” Larson said. “The chance to compete for the top team and best sponsors in racing is something every driver dreams about. I’m humbled to have incredible people in my corner and amazing support from so many fans.
“Thanks to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group for believing in me, (crew chief) Cliff (Daniels) and our team. Even though we’ve done some great things so far, I truly believe our best is ahead of us.”
WDUN will carry live PRN Radio coverage of Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway beginning at 6:30 pm on 102.9 FM, AM 550 and streaming live on AccessWDUN.
NASCAR Cup Series
Bristol Motor Speedway – Bristol, TN
Bass Pro Shops Night Race – September 17, 2022
Saturday Night’s Starting Lineup
Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1. 10 Aric Almirola Ford BlueOval City Ford 14.946 128.382
2. 14 Chase Briscoe (P) Magical Vacation Planner Ford 14.968 128.193
3. 48 Alex Bowman (P) Ally Chevrolet 14.970 128.176
4. 11 Denny Hamlin (P) FedEx Ground Toyota 14.972 128.159
5. 5 Kyle Larson (P) HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 15.001 127.911
6. 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Pennzoil Ford 15.008 127.852
7. 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Light Ford 15.030 127.665
8. 20 Christopher Bell (P) Yahoo! Toyota 15.057 127.436
9. 2 Austin Cindric # (P) Freightliner Ford 15.078 127.258
10. 6 Brad Keselowski Kohler Generators Ford 15.083 127.216
11. 41 Cole Custer Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford 15.047 127.520
12. 1 Ross Chastain (P) Worldwide Express Chevrolet 15.051 127.487
13. 16 A.J. Allmendinger(i) Action Industries Chevrolet 15.092 127.140
14. 45 Bubba Wallace (P) MoneyLion Toyota 15.096 127.107
15. 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 15.125 126.863
16. 24 William Byron (P) Acronis Chevrolet 15.153 126.628
17. 8 Tyler Reddick (P) Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet 15.159 126.578
18. 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 15.176 126.436
19. 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 15.182 126.387
20. 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 15.184 126.370
21. 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M’s Toyota 15.188 126.337
22. 19 Martin Truex, Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 15.220 126.071
23. 9 Chase Elliott (P) Hooters Chevrolet 15.248 125.839
24. 43 Erik Jones U.S. Air Force Chevrolet 15.265 125.699
25. 23 Ty Gibbs(i) Monster Energy Toyota 15.266 125.691
26. 47 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Kroger/Thomas’ Chevrolet 15.379 124.768
27. 21 Harrison Burton # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 15.382 124.743
28. 3 Austin Dillon (P) Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road 15.388 124.695
29. 99 Daniel Suarez (P) Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet 15.390 124.678
30. 38 Todd Gilliland # Long John Silver’s Ford 15.450 124.194
31. 7 Corey LaJoie Schluter Systems Chevrolet 15.451 124.186
32. 51 Cody Ware Nurtec ODT Ford 15.460 124.114
33. 78 B.J. McLeod(i) Down N Dirty Ford 15.501 123.786
34. 42 Ty Dillon EG3 Technologies Chevrolet 15.604 122.968
35. 77 Landon Cassill(i) Zeigler Auto/LoJack Chevrolet 15.684 122.341
36. 15 J.J. Yeley(i) World Supercross Championship Ford 15.722 122.046
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (P) Playoff driver