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Westside

January 29, 2013

Young guns come up short

Good weekend for Ganassi

With 10 laps remaining in the ARCA/CRA Speedfest at Watermelon Capital Speedway, it appeared that three drivers under the age of 19 were going to take the top three positions.

Chase Elliott was leading and being chased by Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek, but through a number of cautions over the final circuits none of the young guns would record a podium finish.

Elliott and Jones tangled on a restart which ended Jones’ day and dropped Elliott to third and gave the lead to Nemechek.

Elliott reclaimed the top spot following a restart and then suffered a flat tire while tangling with David Ragan. Elliott’s car was forced to the pits for extensive repairs and Nemechek ran out of fuel with two laps remaining.

Veteran Jeff Choquette — driving without power steering — went on to record his second Speedfest victory, claiming the $8,000 prize followed by David Odell and Scott Heckert. Elliott finished ninth and Nemechek was credited with a 14th place finish.

The 200-lap feature, which took almost four hours to complete, was plagued by caution flags, nine over the final 15 laps.

There is an old saying in racing that goes: “In order to win, you first have to finish.”

It’s a saying that Elliott and Jones should become familiar with. Both drivers showed a lack of patience over the final laps on the challenging, three-eighths-mile oval.

Bubba Pollard, who finished fifth, said he just sat back and watched the carnage.

Elliott will be competing this year in a few Camping World Truck Series and ARCA races and Jones is also likely to be competing with ARCA in 2013.

With victory on the line, it is understandable for drivers to race hard for the win, but there has to be a time when patience takes over and you drive to finish the best you can. Of the 31 cars that took the green flag at the start, there were only 13 running at the end, most with some form of damage.

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