CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott rolled off the grid at ISM Raceway in third, and found himself in the same position when the checkered flag waved.
The third-place finish was his best result this season, and it extended Hendrick Motorsports’ streak to 13 consecutive races with at least one top-10 finish at the Arizona track.
“It was solid,” Elliott said. “A lot better than we have been, for sure. We are just trying to gain. The guys did a good job, (No. 9 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) made a good call, had a good pit stop there at the end to get us the lead. Just didn’t have what I needed to stay in front of (race winner) Kevin (Harvick) for that long – there were a lot of laps left.”
Starting the day in third, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 stayed in the top 10 for most of the day. But it was the No. 9 team’s strategy during the final cycle of green-flag pit stops that gave Elliott a chance to capture the win.
As a handful of competitors waited to head to pit road, Elliott was in position to take over the race lead once the field cycled through. By the time the full field headed to pit road, however, Elliott had been passed by two competitors and was running third with 22 laps to go.
He held that position until the checkered flag.
“We had a good car,” Elliott said. “I tried my best to hold (Harvick) off as long as I could, but I felt like him and Kyle (Busch) had just a little bit on us. We’ll go to work and try to get better for California.”
Elliott was pleased with his team’s progress, and he’s hoping to make more improvements as the West Coast swing wraps up in Fontana, California, this weekend.
“We gave it our best effort today,” Elliott said. “I felt like we made the most of what we had and we will move on to California."