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Elliott Battles to 21st-Place Finish after Early Incident in the Clash


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  • This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series kicked off its season with the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 
  • Chase Elliott qualified 30th on Saturday evening, putting him in the second heat race on Sunday afternoon. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion came up just short of advancing from his heat and started on the pole for the second of two last chance qualifiers. He led every lap on his way to the win, securing his spot in Sunday evening’s 150-lap main event.
  • The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started the race from the 22nd position and was trying to work his way forward when he got caught up in a multi-car incident that brought out the caution on lap 23.
  • Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet suffered damage to the nose, but he was able to remain on the track. After repairs made during the race’s halfway point, the Hendrick Motorsports driver continued to battle down to the last lap to ultimately earn a 21st-place finish.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet

The NASCAR Cup Series kicked off the 2023 season with Sunday’s Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a non-points paying exhibition event. Elliott and the NAPA Auto Parts team had their work cut out for them after qualifying 30th on Saturday evening, but they were up for the task. The 27-year-old lined up eighth for the second heat race and finished sixth in the 25-lap event, forcing him into the second last chance qualifier. Elliott started the LCQ from the top spot and led every lap to advance into Sunday evening’s 150-lap main event.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet

The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started the race from the 22nd position and was trying to work his way forward when he got caught up in a multi-car incident that brought out the caution on lap 23. Contact with another car caused damage to the nose of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but Elliott was able to stay out on the track. The damage caused a tight handling condition, which the team worked to repair during the six-minute break at the midpoint of the race. Even with the repairs, his Chevrolet was too wounded to advance up inside the top-10 and Elliott ultimately ended the caution-filled race in the 21st position.

#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet

Start / Finish: 22 / 21

Next Race: Sunday, February 19, Daytona International Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:00 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM

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    • By NAPA
      Chase Elliott and the No. 9 UniFirst team qualified third for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway The 28-year-old driver finished stage one in the third position and followed that up with a fourth-place result in stage two Elliott took the lead for the first time of the race in the final stage, pacing the field for a total of 64 laps After an overtime finish, Elliott ultimately took the checkered flag in the third position – part of a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports during the organization’s 40th anniversary weekend at Martinsville The 2020 premier series champion is now sixth in the Cup Series points standings, only 51 points behind the leader Chase Elliott and the No. 9 UniFirst team qualified third for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway during a special 40th anniversary weekend for Hendrick Motorsports. Driving the ruby red No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Elliott held steady inside the top five throughout the entirety of the caution-free first stage. He took the green-and-white checkered flag in the third position at lap 80, collecting eight valuable stage points in the process.
      During the stage break, the 28-year-old driver reported that his UniFirst Chevrolet fired off tighter than he anticipated. To help, the team made an air-pressure adjustment during its pit stop for four tires and fuel. He lined up fourth to start the second stage and continued to run inside the top five. Elliott was scored in the fifth position when the caution came out on lap 113. He relayed to crew chief Alan Gustafson that his Chevrolet was a little better than the last run. The team opted not to pit, and Elliott restarted from the fifth spot on lap 119. He remained there until he made the pass for fourth with three laps left in stage two. That’s where the Dawsonville, Georgia, native would finish the second stage, collecting an additional seven stage points.
      Under the stage-ending caution, Elliott relayed that his UniFirst Chevrolet was tighter to start that run. A fast stop for four tires and fuel gained the driver of the No. 9 two spots on pit road, allowing Elliott to fire off for the final stage from the front row. Taking the green flag in second on lap 193, the 2020 Cup Series champion powered to the lead and remained there through the lap-204 caution. Elliott continued to hold point for several laps until the No. 11 caught up to him. The two battled side-by-side until Elliott settled into the second position on lap 258. He held steady in the runner-up spot until green-flag pit stops got under way. After pitting for four tires and fuel on lap 298, Elliott worked his way by the No. 11 as green-flag stops continued, putting himself in position to assume the lead once the field cycled through pit stops. However, Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron passed Elliott prior to pit stops concluding. Byron eventually took over the top spot with Elliott not far behind in second. An incident on the track with less than five laps remaining brought out the yellow flag and sent the race into overtime. Elliott lined up beside Byron for the final restart of the race. He gave it his all in the final two laps, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the third position – Elliott’s second consecutive top-five finish.
      Elliott’s result was also part of a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron won the race with Kyle Larson finishing second. Following the third-place finish, Elliott and the No. 9 team are sixth in the Cup Series points standings, just 51 markers behind the leader.
      “Congrats to William (Byron) and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Rick and Linda (Hendrick), Jeff (Gordon), Jeff (Andrews), Chad (Knaus) and all the people that put this together for us,” Elliott said. “They have an unbelievable program and I think we are all proud to call it home. It was awesome hosting over 1,000 people from Hendrick today – employees and their families. Glad one of us could get it done. Obviously, I wish we could have got it done, selfishly, like anybody would. But it is nice to have a good couple of solid weeks and be in contention for a win. We haven’t been in contention to win one for a while, so (it was) kind of nice to get to that last restart when it actually mattered. So, enjoyed that aspect and certainly hungry for more.”
      Start / Finish: 3 / 3
      Points Standing / Total: 6th / 258 pts. (-51)
      Next Race: Sunday, April 14, Texas Motor Speedway
      How to Watch or Listen: 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN or SiriusXM
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    • By NAPA
      Chase Elliott and No. 9 UniFirst team qualified second for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway The 28-year-old driver led the opening five laps of the race before ending stage one in the seventh position After finishing stage two in the 13th spot, Elliott rebounded for a fifth-place finish at the Virginia short track – his best result of the season The 2020 premier series champion is now eighth in the Cup Series points standings Chase Elliott earned a front row starting position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, taking the green flag in second. Soggy conditions required teams to start the race on wet weather tires and Elliott powered his way to the lead by the end of the first lap. He stayed out front for five laps before his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson got by him. With the track quickly drying, NASCAR officials called for a competition caution at lap 30 so teams could make the switch to slick tires. Teams were able to maintain their positions as pit stops were deemed non-competitive. Elliott was third at the time of the caution and that is where he would restart on lap 48. He continued to battle inside the top 10 and was scored seventh when an on-track incident brought out the yellow flag on lap 63. The race stayed under caution for the remainder of stage one with Elliott gaining valuable stage points for his top-10 stage finish.
      Under the stage break, Elliott relayed that his No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was tight through the center of the turns, so the team made a chassis adjustment during its pit stop for four tires and fuel. A fast stop by the UniFirst crew gained Elliott two spots on pit road. He lined up fifth coming to the choose cone and opted for the outside lane. The 2020 Cup Series champion settled into seventh after the restart and stayed there until green-flag pit stops got under way on lap 124. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for a four-tire stop just a handful of laps later. Back out on the track, the driver of the No. 9 had to be patient as teams were on different pit strategies. Eventually, he cycled back to seventh on lap 154 and lost a position just prior to an incident forcing a yellow flag on lap 169. Elliott radioed to crew chief Alan Gustafson that he was pretty happy with the UniFirst Chevy’s handling. After pitting for four tires and fuel, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native restarted ninth and lost some momentum after a chaotic restart. When the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end stage two at lap 230, he was scored 13th.
      Elliott brought the UniFirst Chevrolet to the attention of his crew for fuel and fresh tires. He took the green flag for the final stage from the 12th position on lap 240. The Hendrick Motorsports driver settled into 13th before retaking 12th on lap 247. Elliott held steady there until Gustafson called him to pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 287. He found his way back to the top 10 on lap 299 and advanced to ninth before another round of green-flag stops. After pitting on lap 335, Elliott cycled back to 10th and continued to fight hard for position. He was running in seventh with less than five laps to go and that looked like that’s where he would finish, but a caution prior to the white flag sent the race into overtime. The field came to pit road under the yellow and a fast stop by the UniFirst pit crew gained Elliott a position for the restart. He restarted from sixth and picked up one more spot to earn his first top-five finish of the season.
      Following the fifth-place finish, Elliott and the No. 9 team are eighth in the Cup Series points standings, just 61 markers behind the leader. 
      “I felt like we kind of found a little pace there those last two runs, and we were able to actually pass a couple of cars under green. We got ourselves in a position to have a good pit stop there at the end. I stopped a little short in my box. I think we could have been one spot better there off of pit road, but nonetheless, had a good restart and gave ourselves a top-five. It was a solid night.”
      Start / Finish: 2 / 5
      Points Standing / Total: 8th / 209 pts. (-61)
      Next Race: Sunday, April 7, Martinsville Speedway
      How to Watch or Listen: 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM
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    • By NAPA
      Chase Elliott and No. 9 link hidden, please login to view team qualified ninth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) As part of the team’s strategy, the 2020 Cup champions pitted in the closing laps of each of the first two stages to hopefully put themselves in a good position to battle for the win In the final stage, Elliott had just made a pass for fifth place when his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro got loose and he was penalized for exceeding the track limits Despite serving a pass-through penalty, the 28-year-old rebounded to 11th on lap 54 Turning some of the fastest laps of the field, he was close to breaking into the top 10 when he spun and dropped to 19th Elliott rallied to finish 16th and is now ninth in the Cup Series points standings Chase Elliott earned a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), marking the third straight week the No. 9 team qualified inside the top 10. At the start of the 68-lap race, Elliott held his own among the top-10 running order. He lost some positions as the run went on and was 13th when he relayed to the team that his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 felt stiff on initial load. Elliott advanced to 12th prior to being called to pit road in the closing laps of stage one for four tires and fuel – one of the popular pit strategies among the field. With some teams staying out on the track, Elliott was 18th following the pit stop and that’s where he remained to end the first stage.
      During the stage break, several teams that didn’t short pit the first segment made their way to pit road, putting Elliott in the ninth position to start stage two. Prior to taking the green flag, the 28-year-old driver reported that the NAPA Chevy was tighter through the center of the turns after the initial pit stop. Despite the tight handling condition, Elliott continued to turn laps inside the top 10 during the second stage. He ran as high as seventh and was scored in the eighth spot when crew chief Alan Gustafson radioed for Elliott to come to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The team also took the opportunity to reverse an air-pressure adjustment that was made the first pit stop. Elliott returned to the track in 21st and stayed there to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 30.
      The 2020 Cup Series champion started the final stage from the 11th position on lap 33 and impressively maneuvered his way to sixth by lap 36. Elliott had just made the pass for fifth when he got loose in turn four and was issued a pass-through penalty for short cutting the course. The team challenged the call, but Elliott was ultimately forced to serve the penalty on lap 40. After leaving pit road, Elliott was scored 22nd but quickly made up ground on his competitors. Green flag pit stops got under way on lap 44 with the No. 9 team making its on lap 47. Following the four-tire pit stop, Elliott was 26th in the running order but was consistently turning some of the fastest laps of the field. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native was up to 20th on lap 50 and advanced to 15th just one lap later as green-flag stops continued. Elliott was up to 11th and had his sights set on a top-10 finish when he got loose and spun. The driver of the No. 9 was able to continue but the setback dropped him to 19th. Refusing to give up, Elliott fought hard to regain track position. He picked up a few spots and the team was hopeful for a late-race caution, but it never came. When the checkered flag waved, Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts crew was scored with a 16th-place finish. 
      Elliott leaves COTA ninth in the Cup Series points standings, just 47 markers behind the leader.
      Next Race: Sunday, March 31, Richmond Raceway
      How to Watch or Listen: 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN or SiriusXM
      Start / Finish: 9 / 16
      Points Standing / Total: 9th / 173 pts. (-47)
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    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes put on a furious rally on an overtime restart to capture an eighth-place finish on Saturday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The driver of the No. 19
      link hidden, please login to view Chevrolet Silverado RST had an eventful, up-and-down afternoon but showcased his resilience by rebounding from two penalties to record his second top-10 result at COTA. After qualifying 10th on Friday afternoon, Eckes was forced to start at the tail of the field after the NAPA Auto Care team changed transmissions before the race. The New Yorker was undeterred by starting shotgun and rocketed to 14th on the opening lap. An early caution on lap three helped Eckes continue his rapid run to the front on a lap six restart when he cracked the top 10. He maintained his top-five position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 12 to collect six points in fifth position.
      Crew chief Charles Denike brought Eckes to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a small adjustment under the first stage caution. Eckes restarted 11th on lap 15 as several trucks stayed on track. He immediately climbed into fifth on lap 18 and took advantage of an impending caution to pit on lap 21 before the yellow flag flew. However, Eckes was nabbed with a penalty for exceeding track limits and was sent to the tail of the field. He restarted 23rd on lap 24 and hustled his way to close Stage 2 in 12th on lap 26.
      During the second stage caution, Eckes stayed on track to inherit track position and restarted eighth on lap 29. While running sixth on lap 30, Eckes incurred another track limit violation and ran 26th after serving the penalty under green. With the aid of a caution on lap 38, he restarted 10th on lap 40, but spun at the top of Turn 1 on lap 41. Denike and the NAPA Auto Care team gave Eckes four tires for the two-lap overtime as he restarted 22nd on lap 45 with two laps to go. As the OT green flag dropped, Eckes went on an all-out rampage, slicing through the field in the final two laps to take the checkered flag in eighth position.
      “We came from the back at least four times today and felt like we were a top-three truck,” Eckes said. “Our NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet was pretty well balanced but just had too many mistakes on my part. Our team did a great job responding from it to get back to eighth at the end.”
      Start / Finish: 10 / 8
      Points Standing / Total: 6th / 177 pts. (-30)
      Next Race: Friday, April 15, Martinsville Speedway
      How to Watch or Listen: FS1, MRN or SiriusXM
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    • A-premium Auto Parts:5% OFF with Code GM5.
    • By NAPA
      Chase Elliott and No. 9 link hidden, please login to view team qualified fifth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway In a race where tire management was key, the 28-year-old driver persevered to earn the No. 9 team’s first top-10 result of the season and his third straight top-10 at Bristol The 2020 Cup Series champion led twice for a total of five laps on the day – including the 80,000th lap for Hendrick Motorsports in the sport’s premier series – en route to an eighth-place finish Elliott and the No. 9 team leave Bristol sixth in the Cup Series points standings Chase Elliott earned a fifth-place starting position in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Once the green flag dropped, Elliott held his own inside the top 10 and advanced to third before the first caution of the race came out on lap 22. Under the yellow, Elliott reported that the right front was “taking a beating” but that the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s balance was spot on for the current track conditions. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called his driver to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Elliott restarted fourth on lap 30 and was running in the same position when the caution flag waved again just two laps later. Staying out, he restarted fourth on lap 38 and charged to the lead on lap 61. Elliott stayed out front for four laps, earning Hendrick Motorsports its 80,000th lap led in the Cup Series in the process. When the race slowed for a caution on lap 71, Elliott was scored in the fourth position. He reported to his team that the NAPA Chevrolet was having some voltage issues, but he was ultimately able to remedy it without the team needing to make repairs. Elliott brought the NAPA Chevy to pit road for four tires and fuel. A fast stop by the No. 9 crew gained Elliott a spot on pit road and he lined up third for the restart on lap 79. The Hendrick Motorsports driver held strong inside the top 10 for several laps, but as the run went on Elliott began to get too much wear on his tires and he slid back to 15th to end the first stage.

      Gustafson called Elliott to pit road during the stage break for four tires and fuel. Following the stop, the team examined the tires and discovered that both right-side tires were corded – something that a majority of the field was also dealing with. Elliott started the second stage from 13th on lap 140. For several laps, cars ran double file and Elliott was stuck on the outside. At the time of the lap-177 caution, Elliott was scored 23rd. He relayed to his team that he felt that a lot of his competitors were running too hard at the start and that he was trying to protect his tires. After stopping for fresh tires and fuel, Elliott restarted 20th and improved to 17th before the yellow flag was displayed on lap 228. He radioed that he was happy with his NAPA Chevy’s balance. When Elliott came to pit road for four tires and fuel, there was trouble on the pit stop that dropped Elliott deep in the field. Once the race was back to green, he maneuvered his way to 22nd before the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end stage two at lap 250.

      After receiving four fresh tires, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native took the green flag for the final stage from 18th. However, the NAPA Chevy was too tight during the run and Elliott dropped to 30th as he hurt the right-rear tire trying to make his car turn. When a caution came out on lap 311, the team took the opportunity to make a chassis adjustment to the No. 9 during the four-tire stop. Elliott restarted 27th and was up to 25th when the final yellow flag of the race waved at lap 369. The six-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award winner brought the No. 9 Chevy to the attention of the pit crew for a fresh set of tires. He was scored 23rd after the pit stop and advanced inside the top 20 after the race went back to green. Elliott methodically pressed forward and broke into the top 10 on lap 432. During the long green-flag run, the team opted to stay out on the track longer than most. Elliott made his way to fifth before coming to pit road for his final pit stop of the day on lap 447. Once pit stops cycled through, he was scored in the 11th position. With fresher tires than some of his competitors, he continued to gain spots in the final laps to take the checkered flag eighth. It was his third straight top-10 finish on the high-banked concrete oval.

      Elliott and the No. 9 team leave Bristol sixth in the Cup Series points standings, just 33 markers behind the leader.
      “Normally, you could just bury the car into the corner so far and you don’t ever really get beat by guys with tires that bad,” Elliott said, describing what made the race so challenging. “You could just fall off a cliff there with the way that was. It was like racing at a really old, worn-out short track. It was a lot of fun. I think there was probably a little better balance somewhere up there, but I had a good time.”
      Start / Finish: 5 / 8
      Points Standing / Total: 6th / 152 pts. (-33)
      Next Race: Sunday, March 24, Circuit of the Americas
      How to Watch or Listen: FOX, PRN or SiriusXM
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