CONCORD, N.C. – When it comes to being a competitive force at the track week after week, consistency is key.
And Chase Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS team have been making strides all season to continue improving from one race to the next.
In what is looking to be a very successful rookie season, the driver has already won two pole positions and currently leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year standings. In the past six races, Elliott has logged four top-five finishes, including his career best, a third-place finish yesterday at Dover International Speedway.
Taking the green flag in 13th at the “Monster Mile,” Elliott fell outside the top 15 early in the race but battled his way back to the front through several green flag runs. He found the top 10 after the halfway mark and set his sights on the front-runners.
“That was a heck of a race in my opinion,” Elliott said. “Obviously, wish we could have come out on top.”
The 20-year-old rookie drove toward the front of the field, taking third with less than 30 laps remaining in the race.
“Matt (Kenseth) and Kyle (Larson) were racing really hard for the lead,” he said. “I tried to steal one from them. They were a little better than we were, but we worked hard and tried to stay in the ball game today and fortunately came out with a decent finish, just not close enough.”
Elliott said the key at the end was position.
“The more those guys were side-by-side, the better it was for me obviously,” he explained. “When you’re side-by-side like that, it slows you down so much. I was just trying to get myself in a position where if they were racing, try to get a big run and just try to choose a lane that nobody was in.”
Ultimately, Elliott wasn’t able to make another pass for position before taking the checkered flag, logging his best career finish since he took home fourth place last month at Bristol.
However, he’s confident that he and the No. 24 team are making the right gains and will continue to improve, hopefully taking home a win in the near future.
“Well, I hope I'm close,” Elliott said. “Doesn't really matter what I say. Until you go get it done, it really is irrelevant. For me, I think I have a team that's capable of doing it.”