Chase Elliott’s superspeedway debut in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) competition culminated in a 10th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Friday night. Elliott wheeled the No. 35 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST inside the top 10 for a significant portion of the weather-shortened event en route to his 15th top-10 in 18 NCTS starts. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion helped McAnally-Hilgemann Racing place both entries in the top 10 for the second time in the organization’s history.
Elliott took the green flag from 14th position and immediately moved into the top 10 on the opening lap. The five-time Most Popular Driver methodically worked the outside lane to push his way towards the front and inside the top five by lap 14. He found himself in 10th on lap 16 and in the middle of the intensifying chaos as the opening stage wound down. The Cup Series champ employed his veteran knowledge to preserve his Gates Hydraulics Silverado for the latter stages as Stage 1 closed on lap 20.
Crew chief Mark Hillman brought Elliott to pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel, and chassis adjustments. Elliott restarted 24th on lap 25 and managed to safely navigate two multi-truck wrecks during the stage on laps 29 and 40.
The Gates Hydraulics team brought Elliott back to pit road under the Stage 2 caution for another set of four tires and fuel. He restarted 11th on lap 48 and immediately placed himself in contention, breaking into the top five on lap 50. Elliott found his MHR teammate, Christian Eckes in the NAPA Auto Care Silverado, to draft in the outside lane, helping Elliott to stay towards the front. He was scored 10th on lap 58 when the final natural caution of the evening flew. Elliott pitted for the final time under the yellow for two right side tires and restarted sixth for the evening’s final restart on lap 65. A thick mist settled over DIS four laps later, forcing a yellow flag and ultimately ending the event with Elliott holding the 10th position after completing 79 laps.
“I appreciate these guys at MHR and Bill McAnally having me drive their Silverado,” Elliott said. “We were able to make the outside lane work to start the final stage, but we just needed some more green flag laps to get the track position we needed with our Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet to have a shot at it.”
Start / Finish: 14 / 10