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Elliott gets first top-five truck finish

POSTED: April 16, 2013 10:47 p.m.

Dawsonville's Chase Elliott carded his first Camping World Truck Series top-five finish Sunday at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina.

The fifth-place finish follows his sixth-place run at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, where the 17-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver made his national racing debut a week earlier.

"I'm real proud of everybody today," he said after Sunday's race. "I got us in a hole we shouldn't have been in, but we recovered."

Driving the No. 94 Aaron's Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, Elliott recorded the fastest lap at the final practice on Saturday, and secured the fourth place qualifying position with a speed of 146.068 mph.

Improving on his fourth place start, Elliott was running third by lap 53, but soon radioed in to Crew Chief Lance McGrew that his handling was loose, though clocking comparable speeds to the leaders.

"I'm real proud of our pit stops," Elliott said. "The No. 94 crew was on point and really helped gain a lot of track position back on pit road."

At lap 95, Elliott was running fifth when he nudged Norm Benning's lapped No. 57 to bring out the third caution of the day.

With minor damage to the front-end, Elliott returned from the pits in 17th place and on the lead lap.

He quickly gained momentum, climbing eight positions to run 9th with 66 laps to go.

A lucky caution five laps later allowed Elliott to pit for fresh tires and a track bar adjustment that addressed a handling issue.

With 26 laps to go, Elliott elected to stay out during a caution that was called after Todd Bodine spun out alone on the back straight-a-way.

Elliott was running in the sixth position when the final caution was thrown with four laps to go.

Passing Matt Crafton shortly after the restart, Elliott drove to a fifth place finish in the green-white checkered flag finish behind Brendan Gaughan in fourth and Johnny Sauter, who was attempting to make history by winning the first three races to start the season, in third.

Winner Kyle Larson went low to hold off Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano, who has 300 NASCAR starts and was on fresh tires but spun them on the restart, to earn the first win in his fifth series start.

Sauter continues to lead in points by 16 over Jeb Burton.

Elliott's next truck series race comes May 31 at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.

 

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