CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott was impressed with the No. 9 team’s spirit after they fought for playoff points in the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 cutoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL on Sunday.
Elliott rallied from massive car damage in stage three to secure a 13th-place result in the elimination event and secured his spot in the Round of 8. He looked poised to finish within the top five and was making a run to earn his third ROVAL win in a row when he was hit from behind, tearing the bumper off his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Strategized pit calls made by crew chief Alan Gustafson and quick repairs by the No. 9 team allowed Elliott to continue competing, even when it looked like he might be knocked out of the race.
“I’m really proud of everybody,” Elliott said. “I felt like at no point did anyone really panic or let their mind get off from where it needed to be. The guys did a great job fixing the car - from what it was to what it looked like there in the end was really impressive. It was basically tape and what was left of the fender. I just really appreciate their effort.”
Elliott was running 18th at the beginning of stage three when the incident happened. A caution was brought out and gave the NAPA AUTO PARTS crew a little extra time to assess and patch up the car. However, the wreck was a blow for the crew after Elliott finished stage one in first place and stage two in second. The 25-year-old driver returned to the track 37th and used the rest of the race to make up lost ground and get back in the top 15.
“Without them putting the effort in and getting the car to the condition that it was, I don’t think we could have continued on and finish where we did,” Elliott said. “I’m just really proud of that. I feel like our team has always had a lot of fight, and I feel like it was certain showcased (Sunday) with their effort on pit road. Everybody kept their heads down and knew there was a lot of race left and (I was) able to climb back in it.”
Elliott currently sits sixth in the playoff rankings, 43 points behind leader and teammate Kyle Larson and just two points below the playoff cutoff line. Even though Sunday’s ROVAL race was a bit of a scare, Elliott and the No. 9 team thrive under pressure and are looking forward competing in the Round of 8 to make another dark horse run for the championship at Phoenix Raceway.
“The way that we’ve performed at all three of those tracks (Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Martinsville Speedway) earlier in the year, I feel like we can go and have a shot to win any of these next four (races), really,” Elliott said. “I hope we can lock ourselves in and go have another shot.”