Chase Elliott and the NAPA team started from the pole, led 26 laps and earned 11 stage points on their way to claiming their sixth top-ten finish of the season in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Elliott rolled off the grid from the pole position at Atlanta Motor Speedway after the starting lineup was set by a random draw. He maintained the lead until the competition caution on Lap 25 when he visited pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment. He returned to the track in fourth for the ensuing restart. After losing momentum on the restart, Elliott slipped back to eight and remained outside the top five until a round of scheduled-green flag pit stops. Following the NAPA team’s pit stop, the Georgia native found himself running fifth on Lap 70.
Elliott reported that his car’s handling wasn’t bad, but he was unsure of what adjustments to make to improve the pace. Another caution late in Stage 1 brought the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, a trackbar adjustment and to add tape to the nose. On Lap 99, Elliott lined up sixth for a restart, but was shuffled back to 11th when the outside line was slow to take off. He used the remainder of the stage to rebound to sixth place. During the stage break, the NAPA team gained a position on pit road while making another round of adjustments.
Elliott took the green flag in fifth to begin Stage 2. By Lap 119, he was up to third. He continued racing inside the top five while reporting that his NAPA Chevy was turning better after the previous adjustments. After making another green-flag pit stop, Elliott returned to the track in ninth before a caution waved on Lap 201.
During the caution, crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott back to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and another chassis adjustment. Elliott restarted eighth and charged his way up to fifth when the stage concluded on Lap 210.
As the final stage commenced, Elliott maintained his top-five running position through Lap 243. The No. 9 driver reported that his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet was still too tight. He lost two positions before making his final green-flag pit stop with just over 50 laps remaining.
He returned to the track running inside the top ten and ended the day with an eighth-place finish – his sixth top-ten effort so far this season.
Start / Finish: 1 / 8
Points Earned: 40
Points Standing / Total: 3rd / 365 pts.
Next Race: June 10, Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM
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