- Chase Elliott headed to his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway as the defending winner of the July NASCAR Cup Series race.
- The weekend also marked the seventh edition of the Chase Elliott Foundation’s DESI9N TO DRIVE program in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA. Two cancer patients from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta designed the 27-year-old driver’s race car and uniform with a “summer nights” theme.
- Elliott qualified 23rd for the Sunday night race and worked his way inside the top 20 in the first stage, finishing it in the 18th position. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native followed that up with a 12th-place result in stage two.
- The Hendrick Motorsports driver was scored with a 13th-place finish after weather ultimately forced the race to end with just 185 of the scheduled 260 laps completed.
- The top-15 result helped Elliott gain one position in the point standings. He now sits 23rd with seven races remaining in the regular season. The 2020 Cup Series Champion is currently 60 markers below the provisional cutline to advance to the playoffs.
Chase Elliott, the defending winner of the July NASCAR Cup Series race in the Peach State, qualified 23rd for Sunday night’s race under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The weekend marked a special one for Elliott and the No. 9 team with the seventh edition of the Chase Elliott Foundation’s DESI9N TO DRIVE program in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA. As part of the program, two cancer patients from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta designed the 27-year-old driver’s race car and uniform.
After rolling off the grid from 23rd, Elliott initially lost some positions once the field took the green flag. As the run went on, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native pressed forward, climbing inside the top 20 by lap 16. Elliott was scored in the 17th position when the first caution flag of the race waved on lap 17. Staying out, the 2020 Cup Series champion restarted 16th on lap 23 and continued to battle inside the top 20 for several laps. After briefly dropping back to 22nd, Elliott ended the first stage in the 18th position on lap 60.
Under the stage-ending caution, Elliott reported to crew chief Alan Gustafson that his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 would likely be pretty good if he could get track position. He brought his car to the attention of his crew for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Elliott took the green flag for the second stage from the outside lane and battled hard for position. Running 23rd when the caution flag waved on lap 80, Elliott relayed to his team that the air-pressure adjustment had freed up his Chevy a little bit but wasn’t quite free enough. After initially staying out, the team made the decision to pit for right-side tires and fill the No. 9 NAPA/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Chevy full of fuel. Elliott restarted at the back of the pack but was undeterred by the loss of track position and worked his way forward as the stage went on. After narrowly missing an on-track incident on lap 92, the team elected to pit for four tires and fuel. Restarting deep in the field, Elliott methodically worked his way forward and was up to 17th when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 122. Staying out, he gained pivotal track position and restarted eighth on lap 128. Elliott battled inside the top 10 for several laps before reporting that he thought he might have a tire going down. He lost some ground but ultimately stayed out on the track after determining his tires were alright. Elliott was scored with a 12th-place finish in stage two after it ended under caution due to a multi-car incident.
With weather in the area, teams were on varying strategies during the stage break. Some teams stayed out on the track while others opted to pit. The No. 9 team elected to take four tires and fuel during its stop. Elliott started the final stage from the 21st position on lap 164 and gained ground in a hurry. He powered his way towards the front and was 13th on the board when an incident brought out a caution on lap 178. While under the yellow flag, rain started to fall, and the field was placed under the red flag. The weather ultimately forced officials to call the race with just 185 of the scheduled 260 laps completed. Elliott’s teammate William Byron was credited with the victory.
Following his 13th-place finish at Atlanta, Elliott now sits 23rd in the Cup Series point standings. He is 60 markers below the provisional cutline to advance to the playoffs with just seven races left in the regular season.
Start / Finish: 23 / 13
Points Standing / Total: 23rd / 347 pts. (-281)
Next Race: Sunday, July 16, New Hampshire Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN or SiriusXM