DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrickcars.com/NAPA Brakes Chevrolet, earned his 11th top-10 result in the ARCA Racing Series when he finished ninth at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 15.
Elliott ran inside the top five for the majority of the 80-lap race and utilized the opportunity to gain more superspeedway experience as he prepares for his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next weekend at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 22.
“It’s a different type of racing really than what I’ve always been used to,” Elliott, 18, said about what it’s like racing at Daytona. “You are so dependent upon the guy behind you it’s hard to make a move. You just have to have help so it’s hard to go anywhere.”
Elliott lined up fifth for the start of the race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, and moved up to fourth by Lap 2. An incident occurred on Lap 13, which brought out the race’s first caution. While the yellow flag was displayed, Elliott came into the pits running fourth for fuel only. He picked up a spot to run third for the Lap 24 restart.
The Dawsonville, Ga., native consistently ran inside the top three as the race progressed and climbed as high as second by Lap 52. Elliott maintained this position until Lap 66, when the officials waved the yellow flag again.
Per the ARCA Racing Series’ new double file restart rule this year, Elliott lined up on the outside of the front row next to eventual race winner Grant Enfinger when the event resumed on Lap 73. Elliott did his best to pass Enfinger on the restart, but received no drafting help from behind. As a result, he dropped back slightly and was running 10th at Lap 75.
In the final five laps, Elliott improved to ninth, which is where he finished when the checkered flag was waved on Lap 80.
“I just want to thank Hendrickcars.com, NAPA Brakes and everybody out there that supported us this weekend,” Elliott said. “I hate that we couldn’t get a better finish. I thought we had a really good shot to get the win in the last restart, but we didn’t have any help right there once we got going.”
Next up, Elliott will pilot the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series event at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 22. This event will mark his first career Nationwide Series start as he attempts to contend for the 2014 Rookie of the Year honors this season.