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Elliott Earns Eighth-Place Result at Bristol

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro
  • Chase Elliott and No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team qualified fifth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway
  • In a race where tire management was key, the 28-year-old driver persevered to earn the No. 9 team’s first top-10 result of the season and his third straight top-10 at Bristol
  • The 2020 Cup Series champion led twice for a total of five laps on the day – including the 80,000th lap for Hendrick Motorsports in the sport’s premier series – en route to an eighth-place finish
  • Elliott and the No. 9 team leave Bristol sixth in the Cup Series points standings

Chase Elliott earned a fifth-place starting position in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Once the green flag dropped, Elliott held his own inside the top 10 and advanced to third before the first caution of the race came out on lap 22. Under the yellow, Elliott reported that the right front was “taking a beating” but that the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s balance was spot on for the current track conditions. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called his driver to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Elliott restarted fourth on lap 30 and was running in the same position when the caution flag waved again just two laps later. Staying out, he restarted fourth on lap 38 and charged to the lead on lap 61. Elliott stayed out front for four laps, earning Hendrick Motorsports its 80,000th lap led in the Cup Series in the process. When the race slowed for a caution on lap 71, Elliott was scored in the fourth position. He reported to his team that the NAPA Chevrolet was having some voltage issues, but he was ultimately able to remedy it without the team needing to make repairs. Elliott brought the NAPA Chevy to pit road for four tires and fuel. A fast stop by the No. 9 crew gained Elliott a spot on pit road and he lined up third for the restart on lap 79. The Hendrick Motorsports driver held strong inside the top 10 for several laps, but as the run went on Elliott began to get too much wear on his tires and he slid back to 15th to end the first stage.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Gustafson called Elliott to pit road during the stage break for four tires and fuel. Following the stop, the team examined the tires and discovered that both right-side tires were corded – something that a majority of the field was also dealing with. Elliott started the second stage from 13th on lap 140. For several laps, cars ran double file and Elliott was stuck on the outside. At the time of the lap-177 caution, Elliott was scored 23rd. He relayed to his team that he felt that a lot of his competitors were running too hard at the start and that he was trying to protect his tires. After stopping for fresh tires and fuel, Elliott restarted 20th and improved to 17th before the yellow flag was displayed on lap 228. He radioed that he was happy with his NAPA Chevy’s balance. When Elliott came to pit road for four tires and fuel, there was trouble on the pit stop that dropped Elliott deep in the field. Once the race was back to green, he maneuvered his way to 22nd before the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end stage two at lap 250.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro and #5: Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

After receiving four fresh tires, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native took the green flag for the final stage from 18th. However, the NAPA Chevy was too tight during the run and Elliott dropped to 30th as he hurt the right-rear tire trying to make his car turn. When a caution came out on lap 311, the team took the opportunity to make a chassis adjustment to the No. 9 during the four-tire stop. Elliott restarted 27th and was up to 25th when the final yellow flag of the race waved at lap 369. The six-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award winner brought the No. 9 Chevy to the attention of the pit crew for a fresh set of tires. He was scored 23rd after the pit stop and advanced inside the top 20 after the race went back to green. Elliott methodically pressed forward and broke into the top 10 on lap 432. During the long green-flag run, the team opted to stay out on the track longer than most. Elliott made his way to fifth before coming to pit road for his final pit stop of the day on lap 447. Once pit stops cycled through, he was scored in the 11th position. With fresher tires than some of his competitors, he continued to gain spots in the final laps to take the checkered flag eighth. It was his third straight top-10 finish on the high-banked concrete oval.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Elliott and the No. 9 team leave Bristol sixth in the Cup Series points standings, just 33 markers behind the leader.

“Normally, you could just bury the car into the corner so far and you don’t ever really get beat by guys with tires that bad,” Elliott said, describing what made the race so challenging. “You could just fall off a cliff there with the way that was. It was like racing at a really old, worn-out short track. It was a lot of fun. I think there was probably a little better balance somewhere up there, but I had a good time.”

Start / Finish: 5 / 8
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 152 pts. (-33)

Next Race: Sunday, March 24, Circuit of the Americas
How to Watch or Listen: FOX, 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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