Dawsonville native Chase Elliott was driving great at the Charlotte ROVAL, winning stage one and finishing stage two in second place before an on-course collision with fellow Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick pushed Elliott to a twelfth place finish.
The incident happened on lap 54. While his car had sustained damage, the No. 9 crew was able to fix his car and get him back on the racetrack on the lead lap. Elliott rejoined the field in 37th and made his way to 31st by lap 77. He continued to push hard but the damage he had sustained earlier caused his decklid to come off on lap 86, bringing out another caution.
Elliott pitted for tires, fuel, and to repair the damage to his car before restacking 31st. Quickly after the green flag waved, Elliott dodged a large group of cars that collected each other and moved to 21st with 18 laps left in the race. He made his final pit stop on with nine laps to go and took the green flag in 26th and used fresh tires and fuel to push into twelfth.
“To overcome adversity... Fortunately, it was early enough in the race and we were able fix it and got a caution and was able to keep fighting,” Elliott said after the race. “So, I’m just really proud of that. We could have easily given up or not fixed to the proper standard and have something break or had a tire rub, so everybody just did a really good job today and I’m super proud of that.”
Elliott started the 2.28-mile road course in eighth and made his way to fourth by the competition caution on lap 11. Crew chief Alan Gustafson elected to stay out and keep their front-running track position, taking the green flag in that position.
Elliott put his road-course skills to work after the caution, moving second place by lap 19. The 25-year-old driver battled hard for the lead and gained the position on the final lap of stage one before the checkered flag waved.
After making a pit stop at the stage break for tires and fuel, Elliott returned to the track in 19th. His fresh tires and fuel helped him navigate his way through the field, moving into 14th by lap 34 when the race’s second caution came.
Gustafson again elected to stay out, shuffling him to eighth for the restart of the race. Elliott continued to charge through the field, breaking into the top-five on lap 41 and eventually into second-place four laps later. He went on to finish stage two there.
Elliott brought his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet to pit road at the stage break again for fresh tires and fuel, pushing back to 26th for the restart of the final stage.
“Coming off of a really fast car, I thought we had a shot to win and obviously that didn’t happen,” Elliott said. “But in the grand scheme, moving on is the most important things and our season is still alive. So, I’m pumped.”
Elliott’s 12th place finish was enough to transfer him past the Round of 12 and is currently in sixth place in the playoff point standings headed into the first race of the Round of 8 at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick, along with Cup Series driver Christopher Bell and Elliott’s teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron.
“Yeah, I mean, our team has a lot of fight. I’m just super proud of that,” Elliott said. “As far as Kevin goes, just want to wish them a merry offseason and a happy Christmas.”
The Round of 8 begins on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.