After a star-crossed start to his season at Daytona, Chase Elliott had an excellent run in Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quicktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he finished eighth in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Considering that only 12 of the 39 drivers entered finished on the lead lap, it was an impressive performance by the second-generation racer in just his seventh career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.
But as is his custom, Elliott spent more of his post-race media availability talking about where he needs to improve rather than what he accomplished in his best career Cup performance to date.
"I need to get better and build on that," said Elliott, the son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott. "… It was a good day. I was happy we could move forward. Most of all, happy with how we finished versus last week."
Elliott won the pole for the Daytona 500, the race before Atlanta, but crashed out of contention early and finished 37th.
"I made a lot of dumb mistakes these past two weeks, and I was just happy that we could finish," said Elliott. "But like I said, a lot of room for improvement. I need to do a better job, lost a lot of time in a lot of different aspects today, so you’ve got to look at that stuff and see where you can get better and look as it as a day to try to improve on."
Elliott, who is highest in points of the four drivers contending for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, may not have been very impressed with himself for what he did, but his boss sure liked what he saw.
"Chase impressed me today about as much as I’ve ever seen a young driver drive in a race with a low downforce car that he’s never been able to experience in a race before when he’s having to race Kyle Busch and the guys he was racing, Brad (Keselowski)," said Elliott’s team owner, Rick Hendrick. "All day long, never make a mistake, just as cool on the radio as any seasoned driver, getting great feedback. I am really excited about that young man in the future."