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CONCORD, N.C. – With the 2017 regular season at a close, Chase Elliott is preparing for his second playoff appearance in his second NASCAR Cup Series season.

“Good to be back in this deal,” Elliott said after finishing 10th Saturday night at Richmond Raceway. “Anything can happen once it starts, as you know. We'll try to get on to Chicago and hopefully we can step up a little more than everybody else and get going.”

With one trip to the playoffs under his belt from his rookie campaign, Elliott enters this year’s postseason with a better idea of what to expect.

This time around, he heads to Chicagoland Speedway with six bonus points due to his two stage wins and his final position in the regular-season standings.

“We're going to have to be on our game better than we've been all year,” he said. “Things don't just happen overnight. We’ve got to work hard to bring everything we have these next 10 weeks.”

The playoffs are divided into three rounds of three races apiece followed by the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With four cars eliminated at the end of each of the first three rounds, Elliott said it creates an opportunity to shake up the field every step of the way.

“The guys who have been running good all year, a couple bad races, they could be out of it,” he said. “The guys who haven't been running good, there’s a possibility to work your way a long ways in this deal, possibly all the way to Homestead.”

In order to be one of the four cars racing for the title, Elliott noted how important it will be to make up some ground to competitors entering the playoffs with more bonus points.

“The way it works is pretty unique,” he said. “We're not all equal as far as points go, so we're going to have to run really good to make up for all the bonus points and things we don't have.”

In the regular season, Elliott amassed six top-five finishes, 14 top-10s, one pole position and 184 laps led.

Now, he’s ready to get to work in the 10-race stretch to the title.

“Once this deal starts,” he said, “anything can happen.”