- Chase Elliott qualified his No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the 29th position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
- The 2020 Cup Series champion improved to sixth to end stage one and also finished stage two in sixth before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 11th position.
- The No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team is now ninth in the owner standings after the opening race of the Round of 12. The team is only two points below the elimination line to advance to the Round of 8.
Chase Elliott started Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway from the 29th position and was up to 28th by lap 15. As a long green-flag run ensued, teams started making their way to pit road on lap 38. Crew chief Alan Gustafson kept Elliott out on the track and the driver of the No. 9 was scored in the second position when a caution flag came out for an incident on lap 42. Under the caution, Elliott brought the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to pit road for four tires and fuel. The strategy to remain on track longer gained the team some track position, with Elliott restarting in 20th on lap 48. The 27-year-old driver improved to 18th before another caution flag came out on lap 49. Elliott restarted 18th on lap 53. He continued to battle inside the top 20 and was scored in 17th when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 75. Elliott relayed to his team that his Kelley Blue Book Chevy was on the free side that run. Gustafson made the call for Elliott to stay out on the track under the caution, and the Hendrick Motorsports driver restarted in sixth with just one lap remaining in the stage. Elliott held onto that position to close out stage one, earning five coveted stage points.
During the stage break, the team opted not to make a pit stop. Elliott took the green flag for the second stage from the fourth position on lap 86 and remained there until a couple of cars on fresher tires worked their way by on lap 101. When a caution came out on lap 111, Elliott was running in sixth. The team took the opportunity to come to pit road for four tires and fuel. Despite a fast stop by the crew, Elliott restarted in eighth due to some teams opting to only take two tires. He continued racing inside the top 10 and was up to sixth on lap 146. He ran there for several laps before dropping to seventh on lap 159. Elliott managed to regain the sixth position prior to the end of stage two, claiming five additional stage points along the way.
Elliott relayed to Gustafson under the stage-ending caution that he liked his Chevrolet’s balance and was able to move around more during that run. Prior to the start of the final stage, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native brought the No. 9 to the attention of his crew for four tires and fuel. The team spent a few more seconds on pit road to ensure the Kelley Blue Book Camaro was packed full of fuel. Elliott took the green flag from the ninth spot on lap 171 and was scored in 10th when the caution flag waved on lap 209. Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for four tires and fuel. The 2020 Cup Series champion restarted in ninth on lap 214 and remained there until a car managed to get by on lap 226. Elliott was in that same position when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 243. Opting not to pit, Elliott restarted in sixth on lap 247. An incident ahead of him brought out the caution again on lap 250. The driver of the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevy stayed out on the track and restarted on the inside the second row with just 13 laps to go. A multi-car incident slowed the race once more just one lap later, with Elliott scored in third. The field took the green flag for the final time with just six laps remaining. Elliott battled hard in the closing laps, but some cars with fresher tires got by and he was ultimately scored with an 11th-place result.
It was a strong points day for Elliott and the team as they continue their run in the playoffs for the owner championship. The No. 9 team moved up to ninth in the standings, just two points below the elimination line with two races remaining in the Round of 12.
The day was a historic one for Hendrick Motorsports, as the organization captured its 300th Cup Series victory after William Byron and the No. 24 team earned the win at Texas.
Start / Finish: 29 / 11
Points Standing / Total: 17th / 667 pts. (-2,416)
Next Race: Sunday, Oct. 1, Talladega Superspeedway
How to Watch or Listen: NBC, MRN or SiriusXM
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.