Tight Points Race Moves to Iowa

Nationwide

Chase Elliott (R) leads Regan Smith by four points heading to Iowa. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Nationwide Series has quite a championship fight on its hands with this week's return to Iowa Speedway for Saturday night’s U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland.

The top four drivers are separated by only 15 points as NASCAR’s No. 2 division readies for a stand-alone date at the 7/8-mile oval. Rookie Chase Elliott leads JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith by four points with Elliott Sadler 11 behind and Ty Dillon, last week’s Indianapolis winner, trailing by 15.

After a frustrating weekend at "The Brickyard," Elliott is hoping for a better run Saturday night.

"It'll be good to get back out to Iowa, where we ran competitively in May," said Elliott, who finished fourth in this year's first visit there. "We had a disappointing performance at Indy (12th place). You'll have your ups and downs in racing, but staying focused is the key to overall success. It's a long season and we have to stay level-headed."

Smith echoed his young teammate’s sentiments after a planned strategy didn’t produce the hoped-for results in Indianapolis. A change of scenery to a short track on Saturday night might be just what the doctor ordered.

"Last week, we had a ton of speed. The race strategy just didn’t play out for us," said Smith. "We unloaded well and had a strong car all weekend, and I know we can do the same at Iowa - which has been a good track for our team. Short-track racing can be challenging and frustrating at times, but if things go right it’s a lot of fun. Looking ahead to the two road courses coming up in August, those have become wild-card races. So a solid showing in Iowa could really go a long way over this stretch."

Sadler had a top-five finish the last time the series visited Iowa while Dillon came home eighth in his series debut at the track.

"Iowa fits my driving style because it's fast," Dillon said. "It's important that we qualify well and stay smart. We've got all the momentum in the world, right now."

That momentum also includes some extra incentive in the Nationwide "Dash4Cash" program. Dillon is one of four drivers that will be paired up with a fan in hopes of collecting another $100,000 payday. Smith, Trevor Bayne and Brian Scott are the others.

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 from Iowa Speedway starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

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