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Elliott Avoids Last-Lap Incident, Earns Top-15 Result at Talladega

  • Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team qualified ninth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Elliott led laps en route to a second-place result in stage one and followed that up with an eighth-place finish in stage two.
  • After making multiple moves to try to advance to the front of the field towards the end race, he avoided a last-lap multi-car incident to finish 15th.
  • The 28-year-old driver now sits third in the Cup Series point standings, just 22 markers behind the leader.

Chase Elliott advanced to the final round of Saturday’s qualifying session, ultimately claiming a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Early in the race, Elliott opted to drop back in the field in an effort to conserve fuel. He maneuvered his way forward utilizing the outside lane as the field went three wide. Eventually, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 found the front of the pack and took over the lead for the first time of the race on lap 42. Just two laps later, Elliott made his way to pit road for a fuel-only stop. Once green-flag stops cycled through, the 28-year-old driver retook the lead. He raced side-by-side with the No. 2 for the top spot as the field ran double file. Elliott came up just short of the stage win, taking the green-and-white checkered flag in second at the conclusion of lap 60.

Under the stage-ending caution, Elliott relayed that he thought he wore out the right front tire. After the team made a pit stop for four tires and fuel, crew chief Alan Gustafson examined the tires and relayed to Elliott that the right front looked fine. The 2020 Cup Series champion was the second one off of pit road but opted to line up on the outside of row two to start the second stage. The majority of the field went back to three-wide racing and Elliott utilized all the lanes throughout the stage to find momentum. On lap 103, he brought the NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet to the attention of his crew for fuel. In the closing laps of stage two, Elliott was running among the front half of his competitors and scored an eighth-place result at its lap-120 conclusion.

After pitting for four tires and fuel during the stage break, the team opted to pit again to top off the fuel tank of the NAPA Auto Parts Chevy. Elliott took the green flag for the final stage deep in the field and was running just outside of the top 20 when the yellow flag waved for a multi-car incident. After pitting for fuel only, Elliott restarted inside the top 15 and continued to run among the top 20 in the running order. After another caution came out on lap, the No. 9 NAPA team took the opportunity to pit for the final time for fuel. Elliott was the 16th to choose his lane for the lap-161 restart and opted for the inside. As the laps wound down, Elliott joined a third lane of cars on the outside. After initially making progress, the lane stalled out and he lost his momentum. On the final lap of the race, the leaders triggered a multi-car incident and Elliott avoided the melee to earn a 15th-place finish.

A solid points day for Elliott moved him up to third in the Cup Series driver standings. He’ll head to Dover Motor Speedway next week just 22 markers behind the leader.

Start / Finish: 9 / 15
Points Standing / Total: 3rd / 337 (-22)

Next Race: Sunday, April 28, Dover Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:00 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN or SiriusXM

Chase Elliott: @ChaseElliott
Hendrick Motorsports: @TeamHendrick
No. 9 Team: @Hendrick9Team

Hendrick Motorsports View All

Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team in NASCAR Cup Series history. At the sport’s premier level, the organization holds the all-time records in every major statistical category, including championships (14), points-paying race victories (291) and laps led (over 77,000). Headquartered in Concord, North Carolina, the team fields four full-time entries in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by 2020 champion Chase Elliott.

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