Chase Elliott and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team had another strong showing at the Charlotte roval Sunday afternoon as they led 27 laps on the way to Elliott’s fourth consecutive road course victory.
Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team started second for the 109-lap event on the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Early on, Elliott dropped to third before quickly finding his rhythm on the rain-soaked track as he grabbed the second position on Lap 3. The NAPA driver eventually took over the lead on Lap 8 and held the top spot through the competition caution on Lap 11.
Elliott lost the lead on the ensuing restart and settled into the third position. As the green flag run continued, the track began to dry out and Elliott’s rain tires began to deteriorate. He slid back to eighth by Lap 20. Once the 24-year-old driver slipped outside the top ten, crew chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for four fresh slick tires and fuel on Lap 22. After returning to the track, the caution flag waved on Lap 23. Elliott restarted 26th for a one-lap shootout to conclude Stage 1. He picked off six spots in one lap to cross the line 20th at the end of the first segment.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS team did not pit during the stage break and restarted 14th when the race resumed on Lap 29. Elliott patiently worked his way forward and entered the top ten again on Lap 33. He was all the way up to fourth on Lap 35. The driver of the No. 9 was scored fourth when the caution flag was displayed on Lap 46. The NAPA team opted to not pit during the caution and restarted third with two laps remaining in the stage. Elliott moved up a spot in the final two laps to finish second in Stage 2.
During the stage break, Elliott pitted for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, Gustafson realized that the right-front tire was loose and called Elliott back down pit road as the field was taking the green flag on Lap 54. Back on the track, Elliott began his charge back to the front. By the time the next caution waved on Lap 65, the NAPA Chevy had moved from 32nd to 20th. The No. 9 team visited pit road during the caution and gained four spots to put Elliott 16th for the Lap-68 restart. He continued to navigate through traffic and was up to eighth when the caution waved again on Lap 70.
The NAPA team pitted for fuel only during the caution and Elliott restarted 11th on Lap 73. After the restart, Elliott moved back into the top five on Lap 77. His ascent up the leaderboard reached its peak on Lap 84 as Elliott bypassed his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman for the lead. Two laps later, a caution for debris slowed the race and brought the No. 9 team to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. Elliott lined up sixth for the restart with 20 laps remaining after several cars chose not to pit during the caution.
From there, Elliott asserted his dominance as he reclaimed the lead on Lap 92 and held the top spot until another caution on Lap 98. The NAPA team did not pit during the caution and restarted with the lead with ten laps remaining. On the restart, Elliott grabbed the lead and cruised to his third victory of the 2020 season. This was also the No. 9 team’s fourth consecutive win on road courses.
“I just had another really fast NAPA Camaro and really appreciate the effort,” Elliott said. “I feel like road courses have been fortunate to us the last few trips, but I feel like we just try to get a little better every time and tweak on the small things. I feel like I tweaked on some small things and got a little better than what I was here last year, which was good. I’m just really proud of the effort. I appreciate everybody at Hendrick, Chevrolet, Mountain Dew, Kelley Blue Book, UniFirst, Hooters and all of our partners that make this deal go. It’s always special to win here at Charlotte with the shop being right across the street. I appreciate all the effort there. The best way to get into the next round is to win and so, hopefully we can do something with it.”
By virtue of his win, Elliott advances to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. The Round of 8 begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway where Elliott won in 2018.
Start / Finish: 2 / 1
Points Earned: 930
Playoff Grid Standing / Total: 4th / 4,027 pts.
Next Race: October 18, Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM
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