Chase Elliott celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinios.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday. (Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images)
Joliet, Ill. — Chase Elliott held off Trevor Bayne to win the Nationwide Series stop at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night.
Elliott had a strong car all day long for JR Motorsports, qualifying third and leading a race-high 85 laps. Bayne tried to chase him down on fresh tires in the final laps, but ran out of time.
Elliott’s third victory of the year, following wins at Texas and Darlington, moved him to the top of the series standings.
Kyle Larson was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Ty Dillon to round out the top five.
Brian Scott, who started on the pole, finished sixth and earned $100,000 in the second event of the four-race “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program.
Kahne and Larson were the lone Sprint Cup regulars in the field on an off weekend for NASCAR’s top series. Everyone comes back to Chicagoland in September on the same weekend that the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins at the 1.52-mile oval.
The night began with a pair of Richard Childress Racing teammates in front after Scott and Dillon had the best showing in qualifying. It was Scott’s second pole of the season and No. 4 for his career. He won his first Nationwide Series pole at Chicagoland on Sept. 17, 2011.
Scott led for 20 laps before Elliott moved in front.
Erik Jones finished seventh in his Nationwide debut, driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota. The 18-year-old Jones won the Truck Series race last week at Iowa in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota he shares with Busch. Jones also won a Truck race last year in Phoenix.
Jones is expected to make two more Nationwide starts in Matt Kenseth’s car this season.
Regan Smith, who led the series standings by eight points over Elliott Sadler coming into the day, started 15th after a disappointing qualifying session, and it just got worse during the race. He never got into the mix on his way to 16th place.
It was similar to last year, when Smith was on top of the series heading into the first stop at Chicagoland, and then slid into the infield on Lap 129 and finished 13th. He had the same finish in the September race at the same track.
IndyCar Series in Toronto rained out
Toronto — Let’s race two.
IndyCar’s weekend doubleheader will be crammed into one day because Saturday’s race was called because of rain.
IndyCar has scheduled two, 65-lap races for Sunday. The first one will have a rolling start at 10:30 a.m. and the second one is set for a standing start at 4:15 p.m. The order for the second race will be set by points, as of Saturday. Both races will be telecast on NBCSN.
IndyCar officials originally had decided to make Saturday’s race a 90-minute or 65-lap race once it started. But with rain falling into the night, officials decided to call the race.
“Obviously, we all wanted to get the race in today, but this was the correct call,” series points leader Helio Castroneves said. “We really tried to start the race, but it was clear that we were going to wreck a lot of cars. The PPG Chevy is very fast so whenever we start the race we will be fine.”
Castroneves has the pole for the second race.
Will Power’s car wrecked during warm-up laps. The pace car also spun before officials decided to pull the cars from the track and red flag the race.
Sebastien Bourdais won his first open-wheel pole since 2007 earlier in the day.
Bourdais’ lap of 58.9479 seconds (107.179 mph) on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place earned him his 32nd career pole. He won his first pole since Sept. 2, 2007, at Assen, Netherlands, driving for Champ Car.
The course was affected by standing water on the backstretch.
Tony Kanaan called the conditions “completely unsafe,” and Ryan Briscoe predicted “carnage” if the race went off during its scheduled green flag time.
The last IndyCar Series race to be postponed by rain was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2011. That race ran its first 15 laps on Sunday, May 1 and concluded with 40 laps on May 2. The last race to be postponed in full was at St. Petersburg on March 28, 2010. The race was run on March 29, 2010.
Will Power joins Bourdais on the front row for Sunday’s race. Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud and Kanaan completed the top six.
Bourdais was second and third in Toronto last year, the start of six top-10 finishes over the final eight races for Dragon Racing. He has yet to make the podium in a disappointing first season driving for KVSH Racing.
“Nothing’s achieved right now, but we’ll take it and keep digging,” he said.
Bourdais won four consecutive Champ Car titles from 2004-07 and has 31 career victories. He is winless in 52 career IndyCar starts.
When he was handed his trophy for the runner-up finish last year in Toronto, the crystal was not properly attached to the base. He accepted it and prepared to raise it over his head, but it slipped to the ground, bounced once then shattered.
Bourdais is the 10th different pole winner in 13 races in 2014 and gave KVSH Racing its first pole since Kanaan at Las Vegas in 2011.
“We keep on displaying pace and showing up at the front, so hopefully at some point it’s going to break and we’re going to make it,” Bourdais said.