CONCORD, N.C.— Hendrick Motorsports rookie Chase Elliott made his first Sprint Showdown appearance Friday night.
Piloting the No. 25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, Elliott successfully passed competitors throughout the event, gaining valuable track time at Charlotte Motor Speedway in advance of next week's 600-mile race.
He ultimately finished fifth.
In the first 20-lap segment, the No. 25 Chevrolet SS rolled off the grid in 11th. Within the first five laps, Elliott battled three-wide and secured a ninth-place running position. After making another pass for eighth only a few laps later, the team held steady, claiming an eighth-place finish.
Toward the end of the first segment, Elliott took to the radio to tell his teammates, “This No. 25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS is pretty good. It’s just hard to pass.”
Crew chief Kenny Francis made the call to pit during the caution in between segments to take four tires and refuel. The team started the second segment once again from 11th.
As he did in the first segment, Elliott raced hard and gained positions. Within the first 10 laps, the No. 25 Chevrolet SS worked its way into seventh place. Elliott continued to move forward, claiming sixth place only two laps later. He continued to gain speed and close in on the top-five teams. With just enough laps left, Hendrick Motorsports’ fifth driver completed the pass for fifth.
“It’s hard to make ground in a short amount of time. It’s just hard to do,” said Elliott after the race. “I thought our car was actually pretty good throughout the race and especially in the second half.”
Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer took the checkered flags in segments one and two, respectively. Both drivers have earned their entry into Saturday night’s All-Star Race.