Conley showing consistency in Nationwide Series ride

JOLIET, Ill.-NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Cale Conley posted the fastest time in final practice at Chicagoland Speedway Friday. He ran a speed of 175.262 mph.

Conley said, “felt awesome to be in the top spot after practice at his my first run at a mile and half track and it is a great confidence builder.”

Conley was able to take his new-found speed in the No. 33 Richard Childress Camaro sponsored by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to notch a 10th place spot on the starting grid for the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 Saturday.

He was running in the top 10 most of the night but had issues on one of his mid-race pit stops and forced him to go a lap down.

Conley said, “the team kept working on the car to accommodate the ever-changing race track.” He was able to record a 12th place finish on the night.

“It was solid run I think that it was something to keep my chin up about for being my first mile and half race,” Conley said. “My next race is Bristol so I’m excited to hit the short track again but also excited to get back on the big tracks to learn more. So much to learn and so much to gain experience wise.”

The race at Bristol is set for Aug. 22.

He made his Nationwide Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway with an 11th place finish.

In his third outing in the Okuma-sponsored Camaro, he was able to post a 15th-place finish at Richmond International Speedway.

Conley made his return to the K&N East Series in the Granite State 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He drove the No. 47 Ravici Racing Chevrolet Impala to a third-place finish after starting the race at the rear of the field in 30th position. His lone win in the K&N East Series came in 2012 at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway. Conley used the opportunity to drive the Ravici Racing Impala to gain more seat time, due to his limited Nationwide Series schedule with Richard Childress Racing. Conley has competed in the K&N Series since 2011 with three pole positions, eight top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes to his credit.

Chase Elliott held off Trevor Bayne to win the Nationwide Series race Saturday night.

Elliott had a strong car all day long for JR Motorsports, qualifying third and leading a race-high 85 laps. Bayne tried to chase him down on fresh tires in the final laps, but ran out of time.

Elliott’s third victory of the year, following wins at Texas and Darlington, moved him to the top of the series standings.

Kyle Larson was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Ty Dillon to round out the top five.

Brian Scott, who started on the pole and is a teammate of Cale Conley at RCR, finished sixth and earned $100,000 in the second event of the four-race “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program.

Kahne and Larson were the lone Sprint Cup regulars in the field on an off weekend for NASCAR’s top series. Everyone comes back to Chicagoland in September on the same weekend that the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins at the 1.52-mile oval.

Scott led for 20 laps before Elliott moved in front.

Conley has four more shots for a win in NASCAR’s second tier series. He said, “I really need to be in the car every weekend to unload in practice with speed, consistency and confidence.”