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Elliott and NAPA team inch closer in championship at Indy
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Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, finished 10th in Saturday's Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


For the second week in a row, Elliott gained on championship points leader Chris Buescher.

Coming into the 100 lap race Elliott sat 31 points out of first place, when the checkered flag fell. The defending series champion was within 25 points of the leader and in sole possession of second place with 15 races remaining in the 2015 season. Kyle Busch led four times for a race-high 53 laps on his way to capture his 72nd career Xfinity Series victory, which is most all-time in the series.

Elliott qualified 13th earlier in the day during a single car format. After 10 laps into the 250-mile race, the 19-year-old NAPA driver told crew chief Ernie Cope his Chevy was not bad. Elliott further explained that it was tough to voice the full potential of his Camaro, due to the air coming off the cars in front of him. He entered the corners loose, but would tighten up tremendously as he exited them, experiencing both ends of the spectrum.

On lap 13, while under a caution, Elliott brought his Chevy to pit road for right-side tires and fuel.

The NAPA crew executed a flawless stop, picking up one spot during the exchange. As the caution flags kept falling during the race's first half, Cope called an audible pit stop on lap 27, bringing Elliott back down pit road to swap right-side tires and give him more fuel.

During the race's second half, Elliott kept pace around the top 12, eventually making two more pit stops before the final green flag run. His first time in came during a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 64, taking four tires and fuel. During a caution, 12 laps later, Elliott made his final stop of the race. He had been fighting a front end issue dealing with the nose of his Chevy, as it would bounce off the splitter. Cope made a chassis adjustment on the machine and gave Elliott more fuel and fresh tires.

Elliott restarted 12th with 25 laps to go, picking up two positions to claim his series-leading 14th top-10 finish.

Busch bested Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler en route to his second Xfinity Series victory in 2015.

"I was just too tight most of the day, but at times I felt loose when entering the corners. I believe it had a lot to do with the air coming off the cars ahead of me, throwing my aero package off a bit," Elliott said. "I thought my NAPA team did a great job trying different things during today's race. We had a strategy in place early and we tried to stick to it the best we could. We gained points today on Chris (No. 60 driver Chris Buescher), but we need to keep fighting hard in order to contend for wins. That's what it takes in this series. Race wins are key to winning the ultimate prize. We will turn our focus to Iowa where we had a great run earlier in the season."

 

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