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Second place finish at Kansas skyrockets Chase Elliott into second place in playoff points
NASCAR 10.24.21
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, (L) and crew chief Alan Gustafson talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 24, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images.

Dawsonville native Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team finished inside the top-three in all stages including the final stage where he finished the 400-mile event in second place at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 24. 

Elliott’s performance at Kansas moved him to second in the playoff points battle, 32 markers above the cutline for the final four Cup Series drivers to advance to the 2021 Nascar Cup Series championship race. Elliott won the 2020 championship and is looking to repeat as Cup Series champion again in 2021. 

Elliott started his race at Kansas Speedway in fifth but fell to seventh before the red flag waved on lap 16 for a lightning hold. Once competition resumed, Elliott and No. 9 crew chief, Alan Gustafson, elected to maintain track position and stay out, restarting the first stage in seventh. Elliott found his stride shortly after, moving back into the top-five on lap 20, running third. 

Another caution came on lap 23 which served as the competition caution. After making a pit stop, Elliott rejoined the field in third. He used his fresh tires and adjustments to take the lead on lap 34 but fell back to third on lap 40 after reporting a vibration in his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, where he ultimately finished stage one.

At the stage break, Elliott came down pit road and took four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. After a fast pit stop by the No. 9 pit crew, Elliott rejoined the field in third. The adjustments made by Gustafson and the pit crew proved to be the right call as Elliott reclaimed the lead on lap 88. 

He maintained the lead until lap 121 where he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for tires and fuel. His pit stop relegated him to fourth until the rest of the drivers ahead made their pit stops, which put him back in second on lap 131, ahead of teammate William Byron. Elliott maintained this position for the rest of the stage, finishing in second on lap 160.

Elliott again made a pit stop at the stage break, taking four tires, fuel, and tape. He reset for the final stage and took the green flag in fourth. Another caution on lap 172 saw Elliott head to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. After his pit stop, Elliott restacked in fourth and set off with his sight on the front of the field. 

He maintained this position until the next caution on lap 218. Again, Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for four tires and fuel. Elliott told Gustafson before the caution that “the car is good, (I) just can’t go anywhere.” After making the pit stop, Elliott took the green flag in fourth but jumped to first by lap 223 which saw the races final caution. 

Elliott stayed out and kept the lead but was passed on the restart, relegating him to seventh. He found speed shortly after falling back, driving his way through the field, back into fourth by lap 233. He continued to push forward, taking second-place on lap 254, where he would finish his night in Kansas City.

Elliott’s second-place finish at Kansas marks his eighth top-10 finish in 13 races at the 1.5-mile track and his 20th top-10 in the 2021 Cup Series season. 

Elliott’s teammate Kyle Larsen has won both Round of 8 races, cementing his spot in the 2021 Cup Series championship race. The final race of the Round of 8 will be at Martinsville Speedway, starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.