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Elliott Earns Top-Five Finish at Richmond

  • Chase Elliott and No. 9 UniFirst team qualified second for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway
  • The 28-year-old driver led the opening five laps of the race before ending stage one in the seventh position
  • After finishing stage two in the 13th spot, Elliott rebounded for a fifth-place finish at the Virginia short track – his best result of the season
  • The 2020 premier series champion is now eighth in the Cup Series points standings

Chase Elliott earned a front row starting position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, taking the green flag in second. Soggy conditions required teams to start the race on wet weather tires and Elliott powered his way to the lead by the end of the first lap. He stayed out front for five laps before his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson got by him. With the track quickly drying, NASCAR officials called for a competition caution at lap 30 so teams could make the switch to slick tires. Teams were able to maintain their positions as pit stops were deemed non-competitive. Elliott was third at the time of the caution and that is where he would restart on lap 48. He continued to battle inside the top 10 and was scored seventh when an on-track incident brought out the yellow flag on lap 63. The race stayed under caution for the remainder of stage one with Elliott gaining valuable stage points for his top-10 stage finish.

Under the stage break, Elliott relayed that his No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was tight through the center of the turns, so the team made a chassis adjustment during its pit stop for four tires and fuel. A fast stop by the UniFirst crew gained Elliott two spots on pit road. He lined up fifth coming to the choose cone and opted for the outside lane. The 2020 Cup Series champion settled into seventh after the restart and stayed there until green-flag pit stops got under way on lap 124. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for a four-tire stop just a handful of laps later. Back out on the track, the driver of the No. 9 had to be patient as teams were on different pit strategies. Eventually, he cycled back to seventh on lap 154 and lost a position just prior to an incident forcing a yellow flag on lap 169. Elliott radioed to crew chief Alan Gustafson that he was pretty happy with the UniFirst Chevy’s handling. After pitting for four tires and fuel, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native restarted ninth and lost some momentum after a chaotic restart. When the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end stage two at lap 230, he was scored 13th.

Elliott brought the UniFirst Chevrolet to the attention of his crew for fuel and fresh tires. He took the green flag for the final stage from the 12th position on lap 240. The Hendrick Motorsports driver settled into 13th before retaking 12th on lap 247. Elliott held steady there until Gustafson called him to pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 287. He found his way back to the top 10 on lap 299 and advanced to ninth before another round of green-flag stops. After pitting on lap 335, Elliott cycled back to 10th and continued to fight hard for position. He was running in seventh with less than five laps to go and that looked like that’s where he would finish, but a caution prior to the white flag sent the race into overtime. The field came to pit road under the yellow and a fast stop by the UniFirst pit crew gained Elliott a position for the restart. He restarted from sixth and picked up one more spot to earn his first top-five finish of the season.

Following the fifth-place finish, Elliott and the No. 9 team are eighth in the Cup Series points standings, just 61 markers behind the leader. 

“I felt like we kind of found a little pace there those last two runs, and we were able to actually pass a couple of cars under green. We got ourselves in a position to have a good pit stop there at the end. I stopped a little short in my box. I think we could have been one spot better there off of pit road, but nonetheless, had a good restart and gave ourselves a top-five. It was a solid night.”

Start / Finish: 2 / 5
Points Standing / Total: 8th / 209 pts. (-61)

Next Race: Sunday, April 7, Martinsville Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN 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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