CONCORD, N.C. – Over the weekend, teams took on 500 laps under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott piloted the No. 9 Hooters Spirits Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to a top-five finish after leading 33 laps and finishing in the top six in each stage.
Throughout the race, the No. 9 crew was able to make quick work of pit stops, propelling the driver to be one of the first cars off pit road on multiple occasions.
“Our Hooters Spirits team did a good job,” Elliott said. “Heck, they executed a great race. I think we gained spots on pit road every time we came; like more than one spot, too.”
After spending a majority of the race inside the top three, Elliott started the final segment in second but reported his Chevrolet felt tight in the closing laps of the race when he was running third. Fighting the handling of his car as the closing laps, the driver was able to capture a fifth-place finish.
After the race ended, he praised his crew chief for his strategy calls throughout the event, but, of course, he wished he had captured the win.
“Alan (Gustafson) called a great race,” he said of his crew chief. “I lined up in the top multiple times. You can't really ask for anything else.”
Looking back on both the races this season at Bristol, the driver of the No. 9 Chevy felt close to a win if he worked out a few more of the kinks.
“All weekend we just needed a little bit,” he said. “I felt like we were really close. We just never got over the hill.”
Following an off-week, the iconic Southern 500 is up next on the schedule at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 1.
Elliott and the No. 9 team will look to find the tweaks required to get back to Victory Lane.
“We've got to go to work,” the driver said.