SONOMA, Calif. — Pole sitter Chase Elliott completed a daring pass of race leader Noah Gragson with three laps remaining to claim the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Chevys Fresh Mex 200 Saturday afternoon at California’s famed Sonoma Raceway.
Elliott had saved his tires throughout much of the race before he made his race-winning win with three laps to go to overtake Gragson, who was selected to the latest NASCAR Next class earlier this year.
Gragson had led a race-high 34 laps before losing the lead to Elliott. Gragson said he learned a great deal racing against someone the caliber of Elliott, a leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate.
“This was an experience of a lifetime to race against someone like Chase Elliott,” said Gragson. “I knew Chase probably had the best car, but I also knew I had a car that could win. I learned so much out there today. This will only help me become a better racer.”
Elliott said he hoped to apply the track time he was able to obtain today to Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
“I know tomorrow’s race will be a lot different strategy-wise, but hopefully I can capitalize upon the reps I received out there today,” said Elliott. “I realize tomorrow that tires will be more of a factor and it’s a longer race, but I think today can only help me.”
Gracin Raz turned in a strong performance, leading three times for 10 laps, to finish third. While Ryan Partridge and Riley Herbst finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Michael Shawhan, Tom Klauer, Scott Ivie, Carlos Vieira and Cole Rouse rounded out the top 10.
The race experienced a slow start, as there was a multi-car pileup when the Green Flag dropped that sent four cars to the garage. Two of those cars included K&N Pro Series West championship contenders and Bill McAnally Racing teammates, Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston. Once the race got underway, the drivers got a better feel for the track and settled in to put on an exciting show for the fans.
The Chevys Fresh Mex 200 will air on NBCSN Thursday, June 30 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action at Idaho’s Stateline Speedway for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, July 9.