The last time that Chase Elliott didn’t leave Daytona Speedweeks with a top 10 result was when he was 17th in the 2020 edition. He’d win the championship that season. A week after getting caught up in a crash and finishing 38th last Sunday, Elliott brought his No. 9 Chevrolet home runner-up in in the 33rd and final race during this configuration at the Auto Club Speedway.
“Yeah, just really proud of our team. We obviously didn’t run very good there toward the end of the year last year, and just everybody really went to work hard over the winter to try and get better,” Elliott said after scoring his second top 5 in the last three Fontana races. “Appreciate everybody on our NAPA team for just sticking with it and sticking with each other.”
Elliott says that he feels like they still have some work to do to continue to improve and become a championship contender, days like Sunday are ones that’s nice to see their hard work pay off and having a car driving like he wants it to be.
The Georgia native ended 2022 on a low note. Despite entering the postseason as the regular season champion and 7 top 5 finishes over the a 9 week stretch heading into the 26 race regular season finale at Daytona, he endured just a pair of top five results over the final 11 weeks.
Elliott at one point last summer had five straight top two results. It’s why he had so much confidence that he could win a second title in a three year span. Even a win at Talladega last Fall allowed the 27-year-old to still feel like a title was his to be won.
He did march to the Championship 4, however, he backed his way in on the heels of 21st, 14th and 10th placed results in the Round of 8. In that championship race at Phoenix, he spun off the nose of Ross Chastain and would finish a disappointing 28th.
So, to start the 2023 season off with a top two already, it’s why he’s having more confidence heading to Las Vegas next weekend.