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Elliott 15th in debut at Daytona

POSTED: February 26, 2014 4:00 a.m.

Dawsonville's Chase Elliott raced to a 15th-place finish Saturday during his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Daytona International Speedway.

The 18-year-old driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro said he was satisfied "to bring my Napa Auto Parts Chevy home clean" from the famed superspeedway.

"This place is so easy to make a mistake and get sucked up by the guy on the outside of you that it eventually costs your team dearly," he said after the race.

After starting as the 26th qualifier, Elliott took advantage of the inside line and spent much of the afternoon running in the top-10.

He was running in 12th when a caution flag waved on lap-52 and a fast pit stop propelled him to the fourth position, his highest of the day, when the race resumed.

As the race wound down, Elliott found the JR Motorsports Chevy shuffled to the slower outside line. Teammate Regan Smith won the 120-lap race.

"I've learned a lot of useful information this weekend to help guide me through the 2014 season," Elliott said. "My crew chief, Greg [Ives], did an excellent job of providing positive reinforcement throughout the race."

Car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 11th on Saturday and then took the checkered flag in Sunday night's rain delayed Daytona 500.

Next for the Nationwide Series is Phoenix International Speedway at 3:45 p.m. Saturday. The race will be aired on ABC. There will also be a free viewing party at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, where nearly 60 fans gathered Saturday to watch Elliott's Nationwide debut.

"I'm just happy to be a part of such a great organization and ready to get on to Phoenix next week," Elliott said.

 

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