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Elliott Earns First Career Top 10 at His Home Track

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By Stephanie Adair

Rookie Chase Elliott had much to smile about after Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Starting the race in 24th position, the newest addition to Hendrick Motorsports methodically advanced into the top 10 and came home with an 8th place finish.
“I’m just really proud of our effort, and most importantly finishing this week,” Elliott stated. “Last week was a bummer for sure, and I think a big goal today was just trying to run 500 miles and trying to stay on the lead lap. I’m really proud that once the green flag dropped we were able to move forward and gain some ground.
“(Qualifying) didn’t go as well as we were hoping, so it kind of had us in a hole there to start and didn’t give us the best pit road selection. I messed up there on Friday. So I was proud that we could move forward. Pit stops were solid, and it wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a day we can build on and try to get better.”
Last week was bittersweet for the No. 24 team. Elliott became the youngest driver to grab the Daytona 500 pole, but their strong showing ended prematurely when he was involved in an accident on Lap 20 of the event. Sunday’s race served as a bit of redemption for the driver, and gives the team momentum for the coming weeks.
“Like I said, it was a good day,” Elliott said. “I was happy we could move forward. Most of all, happy with how we finished versus last week. I made a lot of dumb mistakes these past two weeks, and I was just happy that we could finish.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement. I need to do a better job. Lost a lot of time in a lot of different aspects today, so you’ve got to look at that stuff and see where you can get better and look at it as a day to try to improve on.”
The 20-year-old’s self-analysis reveals that he’s eager to live up to the standard set by his organization. Perhaps that stems from the pressure of piloting the legendary No. 24 Chevrolet, which was vacated by four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.
Nevertheless, with rookie mistakes in mind, the Dawsonville, GA native’s first Cup Series top-10 finish was quite impressive, and posting it at his home track made it memorable.
“It’s definitely special to be here at Atlanta and have a strong run,” he said. “I’m very happy about that, and it’s definitely a very special feeling to walk out before the race and to see the support in the stands. This is close to home for me, and a lot of people around here are supporting our race team, so that was really cool.”
The strenuous race featured a 210-lap green flag run which, according to several drivers, became a test of endurance. Elliott echoed those sentiments, and injected a little humor.
“It was the longest green-flag run I’ve ever been a part of for sure, so I’m definitely worn out, and I will be going to bed early,” he said. “…this is a slick racetrack with a lot of things going on. It’s very important to hit your marks correctly, so I’d definitely say it’s up there on as one of the tougher races I’ve ever been a part of.”

Elliott Earns First Career Top 10 at His Home Track – POPULAR SPEED
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