LAS VEGAS – Sunday night, Chase Elliott took home a top-five finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the opening race of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
The driver rolled off eighth after a strong qualifying effort on Saturday, though he was just outside of earning extra points in Stage 1 with an 11th-place result.
He pushed back toward the front in the second segment with a fifth-place finish, and he even led laps in the final segment before ultimately finishing fourth.
“It was a solid top-five,” Elliott said. “I feel like we finally got our car going pretty good the last two or three runs, which was good, and a good time to do it. We just got some damage on the restart and he had to come down to pit road and fix it. We just couldn’t take a chance on cutting a tire. I felt like we were closer today than we have been the past few weeks, so that was nice.”
As Elliott alluded, he headed to pit road twice in a short span during separate cautions as the No. 9 team played out its tire strategy. While it cost him positions in the short run, he was able to recover to take home the top-five finish.
“I thought we were a lot better tonight than we've been the past few weeks and more competitive, for sure,” Elliott said. “Hopefully, we can have cars like that for the next nine weeks.”
Following the strong start, Elliott and the No. 9 team will look to keep it up as the playoffs continue this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN this Saturday.