Seven races into the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy season and Dawsonville-native Chase Elliott is still in the second spot behind Kyle Larson in the overall points standings.
Elliott is coming off another solid outing in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway where the 21-year-old driver finished ninth after starting at 33.
The deep starting position came after he got into the outside wall before moving down to hit the inside wall during a practice round in Ft. Worth.
The crash resulted in heavy damage to the No. 24 Napa Autocrats Chevrolet SS and the Hendrik Motorsports team switching to the backup car.
The practice sessions had been extended in order to give drivers more access to the track and its changes-including a lowered grade, from 24 degrees to 20, in turns one and two as well as new pavement and drainage systems.
Elliott's team also twice failed pre-race inspections at Martinsville last week which equated to being held out for the first 15 minutes of practice time.
During the 334-lap race, Elliott's top speed came at 186.774 miles per hour on the one and half mile track.
He worked his way steadily up from his start at the back of the pack.
As early as the second caution of stage one, Elliott had moved to position 24.
After a competition caution and adjustments, he continued his charge toward the front and settled into the 10th spot after a stage two restart.
Ryan Blaney won stages one and two of the April 9 race and led for 148 laps before an issue with his pit crew sent him back in and cost him the lead.
Blaney finished 12th.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson won the outing on Sunday.
Though Elliott finished fifth in last year's early Texas outing, he was No. 16 in the points standings. Last season's crash at Las Vegas left him in 38th, hurting his position.
Elliott now has three top-five finishes on the year and five top-10 finishes.
The race schedule takes Elliott to Bristol, Tenn. where he landed a top-five finish at fourth in last season's first Bristol outing. In the second race there, he came in 15th.
In June, the series will head to Michigan where last year Elliott twice finished in second and came his closest to winning his first-ever race in the Monster Energy series.
Next up is the Food City 500 starting at 2 p.m. on April 23 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast on Fox.