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Elliott Finishes Third at Iowa, Takes Over Points Lead


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  • Chase Elliott and the No. 9
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    team qualified ninth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway.
  • The 28-year-old driver finished stage one in ninth and stage two in third as his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 showed speed on the long run.
  • In the final stage, Elliott continued to battle inside the top 10 and advanced to third before the checkered flag waved.
  • With the third-place result, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native took over the driver points standings lead by eight markers over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson.
  • It was Elliott’s second consecutive top-five effort, seventh of the season and 100th of his young Cup career.

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team earned a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway. The 28-year-old driver initially lost some ground to the leaders upon the drop of the green flag and was scored in 11th at the time of the first caution of the race on lap five. Under the yellow, Elliott reported that his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was loose. Staying out, he lined up 11th for the restart on lap 10 and made his way back up to ninth by lap 41. As a long run ensued Elliott continued to gain ground, advancing to seventh before an incident brought out the caution. He relayed that he “overbuilt the right rear.” Once pit road opened, crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott in for four fresh tires and fuel. A fast stop gained the driver of the No. 9 a position on pit road, however two cars did not pit which put him eighth for the lap-59 restart. When the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end stage two, Elliott was scored in the ninth position.

During the stage break the team opted not to visit pit road, placing Elliott as the fifth driver to choose his lane to start the second stage. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native took the green flag from the inside of row two on lap 78. He continued to battle inside the top five until another caution slowed the race at lap 81. Staying out once again, Elliott lined up in the second row for the lap-87 restart. Getting loose, he dropped to seventh but found his way back inside the top five prior to lap 100. Showing speed on the long run, Elliott advanced to third on lap 130 and took over the second position less than 20 laps later. He set his sights on the leader and began reeling in the No. 12 of Ryan Blaney as green flag stops got under way. Elliott paced the field for one lap after Blaney made his way to pit road before he followed suit on lap 173. After pitting for four tires and fuel, Elliott returned to the track in 18th and was up to seventh as the pit cycle continued. When the caution came out on lap 182, the teams that still needed to pit made their stops. This put Elliott third in the running order. Once the race was back under way, he held his own inside the top five, finishing the stage in the third position.

Under the stage-ending caution, Elliott pitted for four tires and fuel. He lined up sixth to start the final stage on lap 219. Just one lap later, an incident brought out the caution. Elliott chose the outside of row four for the lap-228 restart. From there, the 2020 Cup Series champion maneuvered his way to fourth before the yellow flag was displayed on lap 260. Providing feedback to his crew that the NAPA Chevy was a little tight, the team made an air-pressure adjustment during its four-tire pit stop. Elliott was fifth to choose his lane, opting for the outside of row four for the restart on lap 267. He progressed to fifth by lap 272 and continued to climb, advancing to third before the checkered flag waved.

The result was Elliott’s second consecutive top-five effort, seventh of the season and 100th of his young Cup career. With the third-place result, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native took over the driver points standings lead by eight markers over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson.

“Our balance was just right, and I thought all day we had really good long run pace,” Elliott said. “I just really struggled to get going on restarts and just was really loose and just felt like I couldn’t attack like I needed to and just lost a lot of ground. Could make good pace there at the end of a run with our NAPA Chevy, just needed to be a little closer I think to keep the pressure on and keep things rolling. Anyway, I was proud of the effort and felt like we had a really good car and were right there in the fight.”

Start / Finish: 9 / 3
Points Standing / Total: 1st / 591 pts. (+8)

Next Race: Sunday, June 23, New Hampshire Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN or SiriusXM

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