Chase Elliott won’t be chasing anyone but the race track on Wednesday evening. The son of former NASCAR champion, Bill Elliott, will lead the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field to the green flag for the first time in his young career.
The driver of the No. 94 Chevrolet will start upfront for the UNOH 200 at Bristol, one of the toughest tracks in NASCAR. Elliott won the pole with a lap time of 15.328 seconds and became the youngest pole winner in series history. The pole is significant for several reasons. There have been reports that Hendrick Motorsports wants Elliott to run the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season in 2014, and he may just be replacing James Buescher who should move up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series after winning the championship last season.
Starting outside of Elliott will be Pocono race winner, Ryan Blaney. Ty Dillon will be starting third as he was announced the driver of the No. 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series car next year, replacing his brother, Austin Dillon, who moves to Sprint Cup competition full-time. Timothy Peters, who flat out dominated the Bristol night race last season, looks to return to victory lane as he will start in the fourth position.
Championship points leader, Matt Crafton, will start sixth in his Thorsport Racing Toyota. Crafton is having his best season so far and if he can continue to finish in the top-10 on a weekly basis might be able to run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series more often in 2014. His teammate, Johnny Sauter, shockingly qualified 21st after his hot start to the season.
Another surprise in qualifying came by Justin Lofton. Lofton hasn’t raced in NASCAR much since he decided to commit to Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck Series this year. However, he just signed on with Eddie Sharp Racing for eight out of the last 10 races in the season and will start ninth in his No. 6 truck. Matt McCall makes his return to NASCAR competition on Wednesday evening. He will drive the No. 92 Chevrolet Silverado, starting in 27th, but was a lot faster than that in practice. McCall is an engineer for Jeff Burton in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and used to be a development driver for Robert Yates Racing.
Other notable drivers in the field at Bristol include Kenny Schrader who will start 29th, Kyle Busch will start 10th and Tyler Young will surprisingly start 17th. Also, the much anticipated debut of Ben Kennedy will take place as he will drive the No. 96 truck and will start 19th. Kennedy is the great-grandson of NASCAR founder, Bill France Sr. Brandon Jones will also make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut as the 16-year old will drive the No. 33 truck and split the remainder of the schedule with Cale Gale.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.