CONCORD, N.C. -- The DAYTONA 500 was anything but boring for this year’s NASCAR Cup Series teams and their fans. Even though Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson crossed the finish line mostly unscathed, they both felt they could have pushed for the win.
Elliott recorded his best finish in “The Great American Race” to date with a runner-up result. The 2020 Cup Series champion was right by eventual winner Michael McDowell when the race leaders brought out a caution. However, he said he didn’t have enough time to pass him for the win.
“I kind of got next to him and I saw the lights come on, so I knew it was over right then” Elliott said. “… I felt like we did a really good job executing today. Staying out of trouble – that’s not something I’ve done a very good job of here in this race, so I’m glad we could at least finish this one and have something to build on for when we come back and try to do better.”
Elliott will have a chance to go back to something familiar when the Cup Series returns to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the DAYTONA Road Course. Elliott won the inaugural race in August and was close to winning on the road course for the Clash on Feb. 9.
Larson also is looking forward to the DAYTONA Road Course after his performance on the superspeedway. He earned a 10th-place finish in his Hendrick Motorsports debut and his third top-10 finish in a row at the DAYTONA 500. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was proud of his result but felt he would have placed higher if he wasn’t clipped in the last accident of the race.
“We were top-10 in both stages, so not a bad day for us,” Larson said. “(I) would have liked to have been a little bit better, but anytime you can see the checkered flag at Daytona is always a good day. We’ll come back here next week and have some fun on the road course.”
William Byron also looking forward to the road course for a fresh start. The 23-year-old driver was caught up in an accident early in the race and had to spend time on pit road fixing his Axalta Chevrolet, which put him down several laps.
“I’m proud of my guys for being able to fix the car as well as they did so we could finish the race,” said Byron, who placed 26th. “Those spots we picked up were important. It would have been nice to pick up a few more, but that’s just how things go. We’ll regroup and focus on next week’s race at the road course.”
Larson, Elliott, Byron and teammate Alex Bowman will be back in action this Sunday at the DAYTONA Road Course. The field will start their engines at 3 p.m. ET and the race will be broadcast on FOX.