CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott finished in fourth place for Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway – his best performance at the track. He rolled of the grid in 11th and said while his start to the race wasn’t ideal, he was pleased with how the No. 9 team adjusted and rallied for a strong finishing effort.
“We made some really big adjustments at the beginning of the race, really not just at the beginning, really during the whole thing to get better,” he said. "(We) finally got back in the ballpark a little after that second stage break.
“After that our pit crew was able to bust off some awesome pit stops and put us forward and get us in a position as far as track position went to capitalize. I was really proud of that. I hate we missed out on stage points and didn’t have a stellar day as far as points went, but really thought it said a lot about our group being able to start as far off as we did and to be able to get back in the ballpark by the end of the race, I thought it was something we should be proud of as a group. I know I certainly am.”
Elliott and the field were at Darlington just for Sunday after two months away from racing, meaning there was no practice and no qualifying session. Despite the drivers having to shake off any rust during the pace lap right before the race started, Elliott lauded the effort put on by NASCAR to make sure the event ran safely.
“I was super impressed,” Elliott said. (I was) proud to be a part of that. That’s a big deal to get a live sporting event back on TV. I know it was a big time for our sport and really more than anything, I was just proud to be a part of NASCAR yesterday in setting the example. I thought that they set a really good example for other sports to be able to get back going and put something on TV for their fans to watch.”
Elliott will be back at Darlington Wednesday for the first night race of the year. Once again, the drivers will be there for just a day and there will be no fans in attendance for safety, but Elliott said there still is a certain buzz in the air that will be palpable at the track.
“I am excited to keep this trend going. I think it is super fun showing up and racing,” he said. “It adds an element of excitement for me that I haven’t had in a while, so I thought that was really cool. I am looking forward to getting back and going back over there and racing Wednesday night under the lights. Such a cool racetrack to race at in general, but I think the nighttime brings another element that’s going to be really cool, always has been in the past for me.”