Chase Elliott finished eighth in his first home track race after starting in the 24th spot at the Atlanta Motor Speed Way for the Folds of Honor 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.
"I'm really proud of our effort," said Elliott. "I think a big goal today was just to try to run 500 miles and try to stay on the lead lap, and I'm really proud that once the green flag dropped we were able to move forward and gain some ground. Pit stops were solid, and it wasn't a perfect day, but was a day we can build on and try to get better."
Elliott quietly and quickly worked his way up in the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports throughout a fairly uneventful race.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, earned the checkered flag and his 76th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. The victory tied him with the late, great Dale Earnhardt for seventh on the all-time win list.
Coming off a disappointing finish at the Daytona 500 after qualifying as the youngest driver ever at pole, Elliott showed his ability to move steadily on the field through 210 laps of green flag racing. He broke into the top 10 when the leaders began their first pit stops of the day. He returned to the track in 12th place after an efficient stop by the No. 24 crew.
After lap 72 he was back in the top 10.
Kurt Busch started at the pole in his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS and led three times for a total of 62 laps of the race. Busch ended the day fourth.
Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry was taken out of first after an improper fueling penalty during a green flag pit stop.
The crew argued with NASCAR officials over the violation while Kenseth missed a black flag directing him to leave the field. The penalty took him from his top-five running position to two laps down. He finished the race 19th.
Kevin Harvick led once again in the No. 4 Jimmy John Chevrolet SS as he has in the past in Atlanta.
For the fourth time in the last five Atlanta races, he led for more than 100 laps of the race. He finished sixth for the Stewart-Haas racing team due to a bad pit stop and handling issues with his car.
The next race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is Sunday, March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage for the Kobalt 400 begins at 3:30 p.m. on FOX.