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Elliott Finishes Third at Martinsville

  • Chase Elliott and the No. 9 UniFirst team qualified third for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway
  • The 28-year-old driver finished stage one in the third position and followed that up with a fourth-place result in stage two
  • Elliott took the lead for the first time of the race in the final stage, pacing the field for a total of 64 laps
  • After an overtime finish, Elliott ultimately took the checkered flag in the third position – part of a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports during the organization’s 40th anniversary weekend at Martinsville
  • The 2020 premier series champion is now sixth in the Cup Series points standings, only 51 points behind the leader

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 UniFirst team qualified third for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway during a special 40th anniversary weekend for Hendrick Motorsports. Driving the ruby red No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Elliott held steady inside the top five throughout the entirety of the caution-free first stage. He took the green-and-white checkered flag in the third position at lap 80, collecting eight valuable stage points in the process.

During the stage break, the 28-year-old driver reported that his UniFirst Chevrolet fired off tighter than he anticipated. To help, the team made an air-pressure adjustment during its pit stop for four tires and fuel. He lined up fourth to start the second stage and continued to run inside the top five. Elliott was scored in the fifth position when the caution came out on lap 113. He relayed to crew chief Alan Gustafson that his Chevrolet was a little better than the last run. The team opted not to pit, and Elliott restarted from the fifth spot on lap 119. He remained there until he made the pass for fourth with three laps left in stage two. That’s where the Dawsonville, Georgia, native would finish the second stage, collecting an additional seven stage points.

Under the stage-ending caution, Elliott relayed that his UniFirst Chevrolet was tighter to start that run. A fast stop for four tires and fuel gained the driver of the No. 9 two spots on pit road, allowing Elliott to fire off for the final stage from the front row. Taking the green flag in second on lap 193, the 2020 Cup Series champion powered to the lead and remained there through the lap-204 caution. Elliott continued to hold point for several laps until the No. 11 caught up to him. The two battled side-by-side until Elliott settled into the second position on lap 258. He held steady in the runner-up spot until green-flag pit stops got under way. After pitting for four tires and fuel on lap 298, Elliott worked his way by the No. 11 as green-flag stops continued, putting himself in position to assume the lead once the field cycled through pit stops. However, Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron passed Elliott prior to pit stops concluding. Byron eventually took over the top spot with Elliott not far behind in second. An incident on the track with less than five laps remaining brought out the yellow flag and sent the race into overtime. Elliott lined up beside Byron for the final restart of the race. He gave it his all in the final two laps, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the third position – Elliott’s second consecutive top-five finish.

Elliott’s result was also part of a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron won the race with Kyle Larson finishing second. Following the third-place finish, Elliott and the No. 9 team are sixth in the Cup Series points standings, just 51 markers behind the leader.

“Congrats to William (Byron) and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Rick and Linda (Hendrick), Jeff (Gordon), Jeff (Andrews), Chad (Knaus) and all the people that put this together for us,” Elliott said. “They have an unbelievable program and I think we are all proud to call it home. It was awesome hosting over 1,000 people from Hendrick today – employees and their families. Glad one of us could get it done. Obviously, I wish we could have got it done, selfishly, like anybody would. But it is nice to have a good couple of solid weeks and be in contention for a win. We haven’t been in contention to win one for a while, so (it was) kind of nice to get to that last restart when it actually mattered. So, enjoyed that aspect and certainly hungry for more.”

Start / Finish: 3 / 3
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 258 pts. (-51)

Next Race: Sunday, April 14, Texas Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN or SiriusXM

NAPA: @NAPARacing
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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