Chase Elliott led 85 laps of the 200 that made up the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday night en route to his third win of the 2014 season and a reclaiming of the Nationwide Series championship points lead.
"This is an unbelievable night," Elliott said. "We were able to run up front all night, and that's what it takes."
Trevor Bayne finished second. The only two Sprint Cup Series regulars in the race, Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne, finished third and fourth after a late-race battle for the third spot. Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five.
"Somehow I was just really loose that last run," Larson said. "Kasey closed in on me, but I was able to hold him off."
Brian Scott started the race on the pole and led the first 24 laps until Elliott took over on lap 25. Scott went on to finish the race in the sixth position and claimed the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest finisher among the four drivers eligible for the bonus at Chicagoland. Two of the other three eligible drivers finished in the top-10, with Chris Buescher finishing eighth and Elliott Sadler 10th. Regan Smith, the other Chicagoland Dash 4 Cash driver and former points leader, finished the race 15th.
As the Dash 4 Cash winner at Chicagoland, Scott will, once again, be eligible for the bonus next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He'll join the three highest finishing Nationwide championship-eligible drivers from Chicagoland -- Elliott, Bayne and Dillon -- in racing for the bonus at Indy.
After Elliott took the lead for the first time in the race, he pulled away from the field. By the time Ryan Blaney took second from Scott soon after lap 40, Elliott had a lead of 4.1 seconds on his nearest competitor. After a cycle of green-flag pit stops around the quarter mark of the race, Elliott was 8.2 seconds out in front of the race field.
Blaney, though, took the lead from Elliott on a restart following a caution that came out for debris around lap 70. Soon after, Larson took second from Elliott and set his sights on Blaney and the lead. Blaney and Larson raced side-by-side for the lead for several laps, but Blaney was able to maintain the position.
Larson took the lead, though, on a restart on lap 127. Blaney continued to lose positions, giving up second to Elliott. Just past lap 140, Elliott regained the lead when Larson's car got loose and scraped the wall.
Soon after, the field cycled through another round of green-flag pit stops. The cycle was a lengthy one, as several drivers who pitted during the previous caution stayed out longer before making their final stops.
Bayne was among those who was able to make his final green-flag stop late, and as a result, led several laps before finally heading for pit road and handing the lead back over to Elliott. Bayne returned to the track in second position and ran second to Elliott for the remainder of the race.
"I love running up in that grey, and we really got our car turning," Bayne said. "Another 15 laps and we may have had him."
Other top-10 finishers included Erik Jones, who finished seventh in his Nationwide Series debut. Blaney, meanwhile, wound up ninth.