Chase Elliott and the crew of his Aaron's Dream Machine played the weather strategy to perfection and came away a winner in Saturday's rain-shortened "Show Me the Money" race at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Elliott and his crew figured they'd need to be in front in case the rains came, so that was their strategy from the start.
The third installment in the "Show Me the Money" series drew 31 competitors from across the Southeast, among them former Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin and Camping World Truck Series driver Dillon Oliver.
Elliott's practice times were among the top five all afternoon, and he started on the outside pole beside Bubba Pollard, whose lap at 96.448 miles per hour was just a tick of the stopwatch better than Elliott's 96.417 mph.
Before the race, officials decided that instead of racing the first 100 laps counting cautions and the last 25 green laps only that they would try making all 125 laps green flag laps. The Aaron's crew fueled up knowing
they would be lucky to make it to the end without a costly stop. By their estimations they could go almost 180 laps on fuel, and the new rules could easily have meant that many laps or more would be run.
Elliott fell back to third on Lap One behind Pollard and Josh Hamner but passed them both back and was in the lead by Lap Five.
By the third caution on lap 27 the field had already run 39 caution laps that had not been counted on the board. The green flag waved again and Elliott moved out front by ten car lengths. Augie Grill moved into the second position and closed on Elliott as Elliott passed lap traffic ahead.
At Lap 47, rain began to fall mixed with severe lightening, and within an hour's time officials called off the remainder of the event, awarding the win to Elliott.
Upon exiting his car, second-finishing Augie Grill, one of the most successful short trackers in the Southeast, walked over to Elliott and said, "We were just getting ready to have some fun."
Elliott agreed, replying, "Yeah, I was looking forward to it too!"
And the winner acknowledged that Mother Nature had smiled on him this time.
"The car was good, but we just had some luck there," he said. "It started to rain at the right time for us. I just thank Aaron's, Ford and Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do and all of the guys
that work so hard to put me in a position like this to win."