Chase Elliott finished seventh in the Goodyear 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 9.
The race was the sixth time this season that Elliott finished in the top 10. The seventh-place finish has Elliott in eighth place, based on current points in the NASCAR 2021 Season standings, but 13th place in playoff standings. The top 16 drivers will qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Elliott started Sunday’s race with a penalty from NASCAR due to unapproved adjustments made to his car prior to the start of the race. This forced Elliott to the back of the pack, but he would only gain positions from there.
By the competition caution, Elliott was already in 19th and had cracked the top 10 by lap 75. In an early pit stop, the number nine team fixed a trackbar causing the car to drive tight. Elliott said he thought the adjustment was exactly what they needed to finish stage 1 in eighth place.
Elliott battled for a top 5 position at the start of stage 2 until his green-flag pit stop. After that stop, Elliott began to complain about loose handling in the car and could not maintain his position or speed. He continued to drop for the rest of the stage and finished stage 2 just outside the top 10 in 11th place.
The pit crew made the necessary adjustments and Elliott was still able to jump spots to start the final stage in ninth place. Elliott stayed in ninth place through two pit stop cycles until Christopher Bell went to pit road with just four laps left, gaining Elliott an extra spot.
The momentum pushed Elliott ahead to steal one more spot in the final laps, finishing in seventh place. Martin Truex Jr. won his third race of the season on Sunday, a league-high.
On Sunday, May 16, NASCAR will continue the 2021 Cup Series at the Dover International Speedway in Delaware at the Drydene 400. The race starts at 2 p.m.