Chase Elliott ended an up-and-down day at Talladega Superspeedway on a high note with a third-place finish, marking his best restrictor plate result in 10 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona and Talladega.
Despite qualifying fifth, Elliott started Sunday’s race at the rear of the field due to an unapproved tire change. When competitors headed to pit road for green-flag stops at Lap 32, Elliott remained on the track to move as high as fifth prior to making a stop of his own several laps later. Quick work by the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team allowed Elliott to return to the track in 12th and he finished Stage 1 in 11th.
During a pit stop under caution in Stage 2, the No. 9 team was penalized for having too many men over the wall on pit road as the team worked to repair rear bumper damage received after contact from a competitor when they were coming to pit road. The penalty dropped Elliott to the 17th position for the ensuing restart. The 22-year-old driver re-entered the top 15 with less than 20 laps remaining in the 55-lap stage and ultimately took the second green-checkered flag in 15th.
Prior to the start of the final stage, Elliott missed his pit stall and was forced to make a second trip to pit road before the restart. The No. 9 team was assessed a tire violation during another pit stop under caution later in the 78-lap stage, putting Elliott outside of the top 20 once again.
A four-tire stop prior to a restart with fewer than 30 laps to go allowed Elliott to make a hard charge forward, gaining 14 positions in seven laps to move into fifth place. Down the stretch, he continued to hold his top-five position after avoiding a multi-car incident.
Elliott continued to run fifth as the laps clicked away. On the last lap, Elliott attempted to start an outside line to make a move on the leaders, but the big push didn’t materialize. Still, he raced forward and jumped to the middle to take over third place just as the field crossed the finish line.
Start: 5th (Forced to started at rear of field due to an unapproved tire change)
Points Earned: 34
Points Standing / Total: 18th / 209 points
Next Race: May 6, Dover 400, Dover International Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM Channel 90
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 258 points-paying race victories and a record 12 car owner championships in the premier NASCAR Cup Series. Headquartered in Concord, NC, the organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Cup circuit, including the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet driven by Chase Elliott.