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BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Coming off a career-best Sprint Cup Series finish of fifth at Texas last weekend, Chase Elliott
has outdone himself, earning a fourth-place finish in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The 20-year-old qualified 19th for the short track event, Elliott's second-lowest qualifying spot since the start of his
But that was only motivation for the young rookie to battle his
way up through the field.
"We started off real slow," Elliott
"We didn't qualify as well as we'd like to on Friday but I thought we hit on a couple things yesterday in final practice that, fortunately, we carried over to today and were able to kind of run our way up through there."
ran as high as second during Sunday's race, but he
didn't get there without a few bumps at "The Last Great Colosseum."
The Hendrick Motorsports driver experienced a loose wheel early in the 500-lap event, causing him to come down pit road while the green flag was out.
But thanks to his
No. 24 pit crew, Elliott
didn't fall too far behind.
"Hate to have a loose wheel," Elliott
Elliott earns first Cup ...
Elliott earns first Cup top-five showing at Texas
RELATED: Texas race results | See where Chase
sits in standings post-Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Chase Elliott's
fifth-place finish in Saturday night's Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway gives the popular rookie his
best career Sprint Cup Series finish at a track he
is already fond of.
It's the place he
first XFINITY Series race en route to the 2014 XFINITY series championship.
was running second place in the late laps of Saturday's rain-delayed 500-miler before his
crew chief called him in to pit for fresher tires on the final caution period.
returned to the track in eighth place and raced through the competition in the final 34 laps to reclaim a top-five showing and cap a career night.
But even as he
stood alongside his
No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet later on pit road, the fan favorite 20-year-old was as reflective on what he
could have done better as he
was celebratory of what he
did so right.
"That's unfortunate to have to go to the back after having a good qualifying effort but I think having a good pit selection was a big help throughout the night,'' Elliott
"But the biggest thing was just having a good car.
I was really happy with it, especially on the long run, and we made some gains throughout the night to try to help our short-run speed.
I thought we did that."
smiled and said he
also supported his
crew chief Alan Gustafson's call for the four tires late and did not question the veteran's decision despite the risky move.
"Being on offense is good,'' Elliott
"With Alan's decisions, I'm going to be all for it whether they go good or bad.
says, I'm in for and we'll make the most of it.
Kyle Busch won the race, but all three of Elliott
's Hendrick teammates finished among the top eight, including race runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson -- who nipped Elliott for fourth place on the final lap -- and eighth-place Kasey Kahne.
"It was great to see Chase
up there,'' said Earnhardt, who fielded Elliott's XFINITY Series championship ride.
While Elliott is his own worst critic, his progress this year is substantial and noteworthy.
had three top-10 finishes in the last four races and he
has four top-10s on the season -- only six drivers in the series have more.
is the top rookie in the points standings in 14th place.
"I'm far from getting the hang of it all,'' Elliott
to start Texas race from rear of field
Chase Elliott gets drafting ...
Chase Elliott gets drafting tutorial in Duels
Drafting 101: Chase Elliott's crash-free course in Duels | NASCAR.com
Drafting 101: Chase Elliott's
crash-free course in Duels
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott's
first taste of Daytona 500 qualifying racing Thursday night ended well with the 20-year-old rookie securing a sixth-place finish in the first of two Can-Am Duel events.
expected it would be a learning experience -- a high speed lesson in speedway drafting with the big kids.
And it certainly proved to be.
"Just a lot of things learned for me, got into a few positions, had a few things happen that I should have stopped before they did happen," Elliott
spoke at length with his
crew on pit road after climbing out of his
No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet after the race.
This year's version of Speedweeks is simultaneously a learning experience and a high-profile opportunity for the promising young talent.
, son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, has taken over the driver's seat of just-retired Jeff Gordon's famed No. 24 Chevrolet.
Elliott stuck to driving the ...
Elliott stuck to driving the ovals, not fairways
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott
, the newly christened Coors Light "21 Means 21" Pole Award Winner for Sunday's Daytona 500, says his
parents never pushed him toward a career in NASCAR
If they had their way, perhaps the 20-year-old would be taking up a much quieter pursuit.
"Mom wanted me to go play golf.
said golf would be a good choice," Elliott
said during Tuesday's
NASCAR Media Day rotations at Daytona International Speedway.
Instead of driving the fairways, Elliott
has followed the driving path of his NASCAR Hall of Famer father, Bill Elliott, who started first in four Daytona 500s.
It was never that way," Chase Elliott
, who said he
played peewee soccer at age 5, might be a natural behind the wheel.
Golf, not so much.
said of his
Chase Elliott, Bill ...
Chase Elliott, Bill Elliott
An hour earlier, his
20-year old son, Chase Elliott
, had furthered the family's storied name by adding his
own remarkable chapter to Daytona 500 record books by winning the pole for Sunday's race.
dad was visibly moved.
The great event's youngest pole-winner ever - by three years - Chase Elliott
had just completed a press conference where he
was as mindful of realistic expectations for a young rookie in his
first Daytona 500 as he
was humbled by the historic achievement.
RELATED: Relive Chase's Daytona pole, frame-by-frame
balanced disposition honestly.
father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, was never one to give in to the hyperbole through an amazing five-decade NASCAR career that included a Cup championship and 44 wins - including two in the Daytona 500 (1985 and 1987).
As usual, they stood away from the spotlight, only emerging when Chase
had sealed this very big deal.
While answering questions from the media moments earlier, Chase Elliott
came off as a much wiser, more sensible person than someone 20 years old should be.
is noticeably measured, and takes time to think about the questions - and he
got a flurry of them Sunday afternoon - before answering.
The Elliotts have been such staunch supporters of their son, and subsequently his
biggest cheerleaders - whether Chase
was winning the prestigious Snowball Derby late model race as a 16-year old or the 2014 XFINITY Series title as an 18-year old in his
first full year of big-time NASCAR competition.
They have supported, but they have never pushed.
grow up and watching him race, he was pretty good when we raced go-karts on road courses," Bill Elliott recalled.
react to Chase Elliott's
Daytona 500 pole