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Elliott earns a spot in The Chase
S-Elliott secures spot pic
Chase Elliott raced to a 19th-place finish on Sept. 10 at the Richmond International Raceway. The finish was enough to secure a spot in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. - photo by For the Dawson County News

After a record setting number of cautions during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond International Raceway, Dawsonville's Chase Elliott was able to emerge with a finish strong enough to ensure he will advance to The Chase for the Sprint Cup field.

Elliott began Saturday's race in the 34th spot in his No. 24 American Red Cross Chevrolet SS with hopes of clinching a spot in The Chase that will begin this weekend.

There were a number of specific scenarios- outside of winning the race outright-that would ensure Elliott's advance.

His 19th place finish was enough.

"I can't thank my guys enough for working as hard as they did," Elliott said after the race. "We are excited about these next 10 [races]. I think we have to go in with the mentality that we can give ourselves a chance at Homestead."

When fellow rookie Ryan Blaney got into the wall early in the race, Elliott took a pit stop but ended up having to pit twice due to a tire issue.

He also had some damage to the back end of his car after a red flag stop with 38 laps to go, but was able to get some quick repairs and get back to the track.

Denny Hamlin took the top spot after leading for 189 laps of the race. Kyle Larson took second and Martin Truex Jr. finished third.

Elliott is 14th in the field of 16 drivers and is one of two rookies to make it in.

He is also in 10th place in the regular-season standings after 13 top-10 finishes and five top-five finishes so far this season.

Hendricks Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson finished the regular season in ninth and also made The Chase.

Three drivers made The Chase solely on points-Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray.

This year's field included two rookies for the first time ever. Chris Buescher also made it in the 13th spot.

"I'm very excited to be in. We've got to capitalize on it now," Elliott said.

Elliott is also leading the 2016 Rookie of the Year standings. He had a 53-point lead going into the Richmond race.

Voting is currently underway for the 2016 NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver.

Chase's father, Bill Elliott, won the award 16 times during his Hall of Fame career.

Fans can vote every day at www.nascar.com/sprintmostpopulardriver.

The first race in The Chase is at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway. The event will be broadcast on NBCSN.