DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Elliott had already found the pole position for his second consecutive Daytona 500.
And on Thursday night, he found Victory Lane as well.
"We had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight," Elliott said. "The Hendrick engine shop, they had some steam tonight, and it was apparent."
Elliott drove his No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS to a win in the first Duel race, ensuring that he will be tied for the series points lead entering Sunday’s Daytona 500 by earning the maximum 10 points for winning the event.
"That's great, I'm excited about that, but really just more excited about how this thing ran tonight, keeping it in one piece," Elliott said of the points lead. "Great way to start the season for us. I know it's just a Duel win and it doesn't count toward a win in the playoffs, but it still means a lot to me and means a lot to our team. Like I said, just a great way to start the season."
The driver’s three Hendrick Motorsports teammates will all participate in the second of the two Duels. Below is a look at how Elliott secured the win.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid from the pole position in the first Duel, the Daytona 500 pole-sitter led the first lap of the first Duel. But when he lost the lead a lap later, he began to fall back in the pack after getting caught in the middle of three-wide racing. On Lap 9, he settled into 12th place, and he was inside the top 10 once again by Lap 18 in eighth. At the competition caution following Lap 25, Elliott was running sixth, and a quick, two-tire stop by the No. 24 team on pit road allowed Elliott to gain two spots and return to the track in fourth. On Lap 37, he retook the lead, and he held off all competitors for the remainder of the race to win the first Duel, earning 10 points in the process.