Chase Elliott drove the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet to a top-10 finish after overcoming a pit road penalty in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway. The 26-year-old driver led a total of 26 laps en route to an eighth-place result and continues to the lead the Cup Series point standings heading into the off weekend.
Elliott qualified on the front row for the 110-lap race, rolling off the grid from the second position. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native, held onto the runner-up spot after the drop of the green flag and remained there until the caution flag waved on lap 10 for possible fluid on the track. Elliott relayed to his team that he was pretty happy with his NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet and he was just trying to get in a rhythm. Restarting from second after opting not to pit, Elliott held onto the position until he was surpassed on lap 22. As part of the team’s pit strategy, crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott in for fresh tires and fuel under the green flag before pit road closed. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet got back out on track and brought home a 12th-place result to end stage one on lap 25.
Staying out during the stage break, Elliott lined up on the front row for the start of the second stage and secured the lead once the green flag waved. He held point for 26 total laps as the stage went caution-free and once again pitted under the green flag for four tires and fuel with just a few laps remaining in the stage. Elliott started to drive away when the team realized the left rear wheel was loose and he had to back up so the team could tighten the lug nut. Once Elliott was back out on the track, NASCAR determined that the team had pitted outside its pit box, and therefore Elliott received a penalty. Since he was still under penalty as stage two concluded, he was scored as the final car on the lead lap.
After pitting during the caution, he lined up at the rear of the field for the start of the final stage as part of his penalty. Undeterred by the loss of track position, Elliott drove his way to 22nd before making a scheduled green flag pit stop for four tires and fuel with 34 laps to go in the race. Back out on the track, Elliott was gaining ground when the caution flag waved with 28 laps remaining. Scored in the 19th position at the time the race was slowed, he opted to stay out and gain track position. Elliott restarted just outside the top 10 with just 23 circuits left and advanced his way to seventh before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the eighth position.
The finish was Elliott’s fourth top-10 result at Sonoma Raceway. He continues to lead the Cup Series point standings by 16 points over Ross Chastain.
Start / Finish: 2 / 8
Points Earned: 29
Point Standings / Total: 1st / 536 pts. (+16)
Next Race: Sunday, June 26, Nashville Superspeedway
How to Watch or Listen: 5 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and 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 (280) and laps led (nearly 75,000). 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 driven by 2020 champion Chase Elliott.