April 5, 2014 in Sports

Auto notes: Chase Elliott grabs 1st career Nationwide victory

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Elliott
(Full-size photo)

Chase Elliott has grabbed his first career Nationwide Series victory, using a strong pass of Kevin Harvick and then pulling away for an easy win at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 18-year-old won in his sixth career start and became the fourth driver in Nationwide history to earn his first series victory at Texas.

The victory continues the youth initiative in NASCAR as first-time winners have now won consecutive races for the first time since 2008. Two weeks ago, 21-year-old Kyle Larson scored his first career win at California.

Elliott was strong Friday night but was second behind Harvick on the final restart with 23 laps to go. He flirted several times with making a pass for the win, and completed the move with an outside pass and never looked back.

Tire problems at Texas

Tires remained the hot topic at Texas Motor Speedway, where NASCAR and Goodyear took the unprecedented step of discussing the compound selected for Sunday’s race before a single lap had been turned.

Goodyear’s multizone tread tire is making its season debut at Texas, where speeds inched toward 200 mph in Friday’s opening practice session.

There was one major incident at practice when Kurt Busch wrecked into the outside wall. Busch, winner of last week’s race at Martinsville, appeared to blow a left rear tire before losing control and crashing.

His car caught fire, and as his Stewart-Haas Racing team pulled out the backup, Busch said the left rear tire started to separate on the backstretch.

The left-side tires being used at Texas are the same ones Goodyear has used at the last two races here.

The multizone tread tire combines two distinct rubber compounds on the right-side tire, with the outside 10 inches of tread designed for traction, and the compound on the inside two inches is designed for durability.

But a handful of drivers publicly expressed concern about tire wear and durability on Texas’ high banks. The concern comes two races after a flurry of left-side tire failures at California led many drivers to question Goodyear’s product and preparation.

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