Chase Elliott Looking To Improve On ’21 Daytona 500 Finish; Eying Victory In Great American Race
Story By: MEGAN JOHNSON / HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CONCORD, NC – In 12 Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Chase Elliott has two top-five finishes, three top-10s and three pole positions. He’s led 126 laps on the historic 2.5-mile track, including 36 laps last August.
Elliott earned a runner-up finish in the 63rd running of the DAYTONA 500 last year, his personal best in the season-opening event. While the Dawsonville, Georgia, native is still looking for his first DAYTONA 500 victory, he has won two Duel qualifying races on the oval (2017 and 2018). Elliott also won a Cup Series event on the track’s road course in 2020.
HISTORY MAKING: In 2016, Elliott became the youngest driver to earn the DAYTONA 500 pole at the age of 20 years, 2 months and 17 days. That record still stands. He earned his second pole for the prestigious event the very next year.
MOST POLES: Alan Gustafson leads all active crew chiefs with four DAYTONA 500 pole positions and is tied with Leonard Wood and Waddell Wilson for the most overall. He won three straight from 2015-2017, with Jeff Gordon taking the top spot in 2015 and Elliott following suit the following two years. Gustafson also won the DAYTONA 500 pole in 2010 with veteran Mark Martin.
RETURNING HOME: 2020 Cup Series champion crew chief Gustafson will make his return home to the “World Center of Racing” for the DAYTONA 500. He grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida, just down the road from the legendary superspeedway. After graduating from Seabreeze High School, Gustafson enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical engineering. This season marks his 18th as a crew chief and his seventh with Elliott.
PUBLIC APPEARANCES: On Sunday, Feb. 20, Elliott will make multiple appearances for fans prior to the DAYTONA 500. At 11:35 a.m. ET, he will stop by the Team Chevy stage for a question-and-answer session. The 2020 Cup Series champ will also participate in a Q&A in the Daytona International Speedway Fan Zone at 12:15 p.m. ET.
NAPA RETURNS FOR 500: For the seventh consecutive year, NAPA AUTO PARTS will kick off the NASCAR Cup Series season on the hood of Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the DAYTONA 500. Elliott has never started the “The Great American Race” without primary sponsorship from the Atlanta-based company. This marks the ninth season NAPA has partnered with Elliott.
IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL: On Wednesday, Feb. 9, Hendrick Motorsports announced UniFirst Corp. has agreed to a five-year contract extension that will lengthen its primary sponsorship of Elliott and the No. 9 team through 2028. UniFirst will maintain three primary races in both 2022 and 2023 before increasing to five per season from 2024-2028. This year, UniFirst will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 9 on March 13 at Phoenix Raceway, May 15 at Kansas Speedway and Aug. 7 at Michigan International Speedway.
WHEN CHASE WINS, YOU WIN: Fans can visit Hooters on Mondays after Cup Series races this season and ask their server for free fried pickles when Elliott finishes in the top 10. If he wins, customers receive free boneless wings with any 10-wing purchase. Get more details at hooters.com/racing.