DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Elliott was the only driver to win two races on drafting tracks in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. The latter of those two wins came at Talladega Superspeedway in October – his second victory at venue.

While the 2.66-mile track in Alabama and the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway don’t have a everything in common, they are both superspeedways. Having success at one is not an automatic guarantee of success at the other, but having success at one does bring with it more experience on what moves to make or not make in the draft among other things. 

"One thing that I am proud of about last year is I thought we had one of our better plate races at Talladega last fall," Elliott said during DAYTONA 500 Media Day. "Just from a decision-making standpoint, our car had pace and we were able to do a lot of the things that we were striving to do at plate races in the past. 

"I know we aren’t at Talladega and things can be different. I hope that some of those things are able to translate and we can put ourselves in a similar position as what we were able to do at that race. If we can do that, then our chances of having a good day are much higher."

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Elliott has been solid at Daytona over the last three years. The 27-year-old has two runner-up finishes and four top-10s in his last five starts at the "World Center of Racing." His second-place run in the 2021 DAYTONA 500 stands as his best result in the sport’s most prestigious race. With a 10th-place finish in last year’s race, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native is one of two drivers with two straight top-10s in this event.

"We’ve had a couple good opportunities at it and we’ve had some really fast cars down here too," Elliott said. "I hope we can be around at the end of the race. We were around at the end of the race last year but at the tail end of that pack."

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Coming off a season with a series-best five wins and a third straight Championship 4 appearance, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is far from resting on his laurels. He also knows that the competition isn’t sitting idle, either. In the 2020 champion’s eyes, that places a much bigger emphasis on the smaller things that can make a big difference in a race weekend for a team.

"You always have to assume when you are going into a new year that all of your competitors are going to be better," Elliott said. "It puts more emphasis on the area that is the biggest variable and to me, the biggest variable is what happens on pit road throughout an event.

"It makes your weekend even more important when you go to qualify because if your pit stops matter more than so does your pit stall. And if your pit stall matters, then your qualifying effort matters more. All those things start to add up and you put more and more emphasis on just the smaller details."

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In acing the details, it helps to have a pit crew that has been through the battles and tests like that of the No. 9 team. The crew of Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), John Gianninoto (fueler), Nick O’Dell (front-tire changer) and T.J. Semke (jackman) have pitted for Elliott since 2018. In addition to winning the 2020 championship together, they also won the 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award. 

"We have a great group of guys," Elliott said. "They have been around long enough to know how to have success in really tough situations and that’s the piece of the puzzle that I think is really important. We know each other really well. All those things matter and they help. We’ve grown a lot together. We’ve experienced a lot together. I think they have a really great opportunity to have a great year again and I think that they will."

Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts begin their quest for a second championship with the 2023 DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).