CONCORD, N.C. – After a second-place finish Saturday night at Richmond Raceway, Chase Elliott was proud of the fight in his No. 9 NAPA Brakes team.
But he wasn’t about to let the group rest on its laurels.
“Looking forward, we have to be realistic about how we ran (Saturday),” he said. “I think the result shouldn't weigh into how hard we work this week, because we have some work to do. I think that we have to keep that in mind.”
After starting on the outside pole, Elliott went on to earn his eighth career runner-up result – tying the number of second-place finishes his father, Bill Elliott, earned prior to his first career victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.
It marked the younger Elliott’s second top-three finish of the 2018 campaign.
At Richmond, he ran seventh after Stage 1 and 15th at the end of Stage 2, beginning the final segment in ninth. That’s where he raced for much of the home stretch of the event until a series of cautions saw the No. 9 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 continue to steadily move forward.
“Just very fortunate circumstances there at the end for us with the way the restarts went,” Elliott said. “Having a short run there at the end was definitely in our favor. So, it was nice to be on the good end of things for the first time in a while.”
On a restart with 39 laps to go, Elliott lined up eighth. After another caution shortly thereafter, he found himself sixth. He was fifth when the race went green with six laps to go following a caution, and he quickly jumped up to third using the inside line. Starting third to take the green flag in overtime, he jumped up to second before the checkered flag waved.
“I think we have to continue to be realistic with ourselves,” Elliott said. “We can't look at the results tonight and think we're right there, because, in reality, I think we still have some work to do.”
Still, it marked the third time in four races that Hendrick Motorsports has put two cars inside the top 10 and the sixth consecutive event with at least one top-10 finish.
Elliott noted that the entire organization’s performance has been heading in the right direction of late, and he expects the hard work that has created the momentum to continue.
“I think we've been getting better, for sure, over the course of the past handful of weeks,” he said. “I thought last week was really probably our best effort as a company.”
Now, he wants to keep a collective foot on the gas as the organization continues to battle to get back to Victory Lane.
“We all know we need to do better,” he said.