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Elliott advances to playoffs
Elliott at Richmond
Chase Elliott finished 10th on Sept. 9 at the Richmond Raceway to earn a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. - photo by For the Dawson County News

Dawsonville’s Chase Elliott raced his way to a 10th place finish over the weekend at the Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway to clinch a spot in the NASCAR playoffs for the second straight year.

Elliott’s 14th top-10 finish on the season put him at seventh in points.

He began the race from the No. 9 spot and earned two more points in Stage 1 by holding on to the ninth position.

In Stage 2, Elliott slipped out of the top 10 and finished in 12th.

There were only three available spots heading into the Richmond race and Elliott along with Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray locked up the places.

The last regular season race saw Kyle Larson take the checkered flag on Sept. 9.

As a result, 16 drivers confirmed their spot in the chase for the Cup that begins this weekend.

The 16 who made the cut include Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse, Ryan Blaney, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Kenseth and McMurray.

One notable name not on the list is Elliott’s teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Three of the four Hendrick drivers earned a spot.

Johnson is the only driver to have made the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs every year it has been around.

Elliott earned a playoff spot last season as a rookie and advanced as far as the round of 12.

The first race of the playoffs is the Tales of the Turtle 400 at 3 p.m. on Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be broadcast on NBCS.