Elliott, NAPA Team Post Second-Consecutive Top-Three Finish of Season at Talladega Superspeedway
Despite qualifying fifth, Chase Elliott started Sunday’s race at the rear of the field due to an unapproved tire change. When competitors headed to pit road for green-flag stops at Lap 32, Elliott remained on the track to move as high as fifth prior to making a stop of his own several laps later. Quick work by the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team allowed Elliott to return to the track in 12th and he finished Stage 1 in 11th.
During a pit stop under caution in Stage 2, the No. 9 team was penalized for having too many men over the wall on pit road as the team worked to repair rear bumper damage received after contact from a competitor when they were coming to pit road. The penalty dropped Elliott to the 17th position for the ensuing restart. The 22-year-old driver re-entered the top 15 with less than 20 laps remaining in the 55-lap stage and ultimately took the second green-checkered flag in 15th.
Prior to the start of the final stage, Elliott missed his pit stall and was forced to make a second trip to pit road before the restart. The No. 9 team was assessed a tire violation during another pit stop under caution later in the 78-lap stage, putting Elliott outside of the top 20 once again.
A four-tire stop prior to a restart with fewer than 30 laps to go allowed Elliott to make a hard charge forward, gaining 14 positions in seven laps to move into fifth place. Down the stretch, he continued to hold his top-five position after avoiding a multi-car incident.
Elliott continued to run fifth as the laps clicked away. On the last lap, Elliott attempted to start an outside line to make a move on the leaders, but the big push didn’t materialize. Still, he raced forward and jumped to the middle to take over third place just as the field crossed the finish line.