Chase Elliott, rookie driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports captured a hard-earned 5th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday afternoon.
After earning his second pole position of the year – and going two-for-two with pole awards at restrictor-plate tracks — Elliott took the green flag from the front row and held onto the lead for 13 laps before a battle for the lead shuffled him further back in the top 10.
He kept battling, however, and regained the lead just before Lap 30. He headed to pit road from the lead for a green-flag stop, but when he returned to the track, he lost the draft and fell back to 14th. A speedy pit stop during the first caution of the race on Lap 50 put him back inside the top 10, however. By Lap 73, he had pushed back up to the runner-up position, and during the stretch of racing through the halfway point of the race, he was involved in what amounted to three-wide drag racing behind the leader, moving in and out of the second position.
At halfway, Elliott found himself in second, and after a caution was called on Lap 96, he led the field off of pit road. He restarted second, however, as a competitor stayed on the track – but he retook the lead right away on the restart. He was moved to the outside, however, and fell back outside of the top 10.
With 33 laps remaining, Elliott found himself in 30th, but after avoiding a multi-car incident, he was battling inside the top 15 once again with 22 laps remaining. After staying away from another multi-car incident, Elliott found himself ninth with three laps remaining. He kept pushing toward the front and finished fifth.
“Just trying to finish,” Elliott said of what stood out to him in today’s race. “You can’t have a good day unless you finish. Just trying to focus in on that. Obviously it got a little wild. For us, we just tried to keep that in mind and make it to the end.”
Elliott’s teammate, Jimmie Johnson, was the next closest Hendrick Motorsports finisher in 22nd. Kasey Kahne was scored 39th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home a 40th-place result.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule will be at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 7th. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.
Chase Elliott 2016 Stats after Talladega (May race)
2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings (Top 16 after 10 of 36 races)
|1.||Kevin Harvick (1)||351|
|2.||Kyle Busch (2)||342|
|3.||Carl Edwards (2)||337|
|4.||Jimmie Johnson (2)||329|
|7.||Brad Keselowski (2)||300|
|8.||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||279|
|9.||Martin Truex Jr.||274|
|12.||Denny Hamlin (1)||269|
|14.||AJ Allmendinger Kasey Kahne||232|
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.