Georgia’s Chase Elliott Earns Best Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Finish In Atlantaby Camille Jones February 29, 2016 0 comments
HAMPTON, Ga. – Georgia native, Chase Elliott captured his best career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish after crossing the line in eighth during Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet earned his first top-10 finish in only his seventh start in the series. The milestone comes a week after the rookie started on the Daytona 500 pole; however, he was involved in an accident and had to settle for a 37th-place finish.
“Yeah, just really proud of our effort, and most importantly finishing this week,” said Elliott, motivated by his strong effort in Sunday’s race. “Last week was a bummer for sure, and I think a big goal today was just try to run 500 miles and try to stay on the lead lap, and really proud that once the green flag dropped we were able to move forward and gain some ground.”
A 24th place starting position wasn’t enough to hold the driver back from charging to the front and making gains over the course of the race that saw 317 of the scheduled 330 laps under green flag conditions.
“Friday night didn’t go as well as we were hoping, so kind of had us in a hole there to start and didn’t give us the best pit road selection,” Elliott said. “I messed up there on Friday. So I was proud that we could move forward. Pit stops were solid, and it wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a day we can build on and try to get better.”
While Elliott and the No. 24 team saw a glimmer of what the future may hold for the former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, there is still a lot of work to be done in his rookie season and beyond.
“I made a lot of dumb mistakes these past two weeks, and I was just happy that we could finish,” Elliott said. “But like I said, a lot of room for improvement. I need to do a better job, lost a lot of time in a lot of different aspects today, so you’ve got to look at that stuff and see where you can get better and look as it as a day to try to improve on.”
His former team owner and current Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., sees the potential for success in his future and does not doubt what Elliott and his team are capable of. Following the race on Sunday, Earnhardt Jr. had good things to day about the performance the Dawsonville, Georgia native showed during the 500-mile race.
“I was real proud of him today,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I was not surprised by his run, and he’s going to just get better. They’ve got a great team. Alan (Gustafson) is an amazing crew chief and they’re going to work together really well. Alan is super excited about it, so you see that energy and that’s going to be great for them.”