9 CHASE ELLIOTT
Age: 25 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
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No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
T-R-O-U-B-L-E: Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team are once again hitting their stride at the right time of the season – and for the rest of the field, that means trouble. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion currently has four consecutive top-three finishes and an active streak of six races with top-10 finishes.
IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: With 16 races complete in the 2021 season, the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team is continuing to improve. In the last six races, the driver of the No. 9 has garnered one win, five top-five finishes – two that were runner-up results – and top-10s in all six events with an average finish of 3.33. In the first 10 races of the season, Elliott had three top-fives, four top-10s and an average finish of 14.1.
IT JUST COMES NATURAL: This weekend will mark the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event at Nashville Superspeedway, and success at new venues comes naturally to Elliott. Since the beginning of 2020, the 25-year-old driver and his No. 9 team have been victorious at two of the three new venues on the circuit: the DAYTONA Road Course (Aug. 20, 2020) and Circuit of The Americas (May 23, 2021).
HOLDIN’ MY OWN: In the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Elliott has been holding his own by garnering one win, four runner-up results, eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. In those 16 races, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has led a total of 116 laps and collected one stage win. Elliott has spent 1,432 laps inside the top five and 2,685 laps running in the top 10. His average running position for the season is 9.93 and his average finish is 10.06. Elliott currently sits third in the driver point standings, 73 behind leader Denny Hamlin.
HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?!: During the mandatory pit stop during round five of Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race, the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS pit crew held the fastest timed four-tire stop with an official time of 11.59, winning the pit crew challenge and its $100,000 payout. The NAPA pit crew is comprised of jackman T.J. Semke, gasman John Gianninoto, tire carrier Jared Erspamer, and tire changers Chad Avrit and Nick O’Dell.
MY OLD FRIEND: Elliott has a few laps under his belt at Nashville Superspeedway. In February 2013, he participated in a one-day test session at the track with Hendrick Motorsports.
WOKE UP IN NASHVILLE: While Elliott has never competed at Nashville Superspeedway, he has enjoyed success in Music City. On Nov. 2, 2013, he won the All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway when he was 17 years old.
CLYDE: On Wednesday, it was announced that Elliott has been nominated for the 2021 ESPYS Best Driver. He is in the company of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders. The ESPYS are July 10 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
BLUE SUEDE SHOES: This weekend at Nashville, NAPA AUTO PARTS will once again adorn the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The Atlanta-based company is serving as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 9 team for 25 NASCAR Cup Series races this season.
IF YOU’VE GOT THE MONEY, I’VE GOT THE TIME: On Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson became the fifth different Hendrick Motorsports driver to win the NASCAR All-Star Race. The $1 million payday marked the record-extending 10th All-Star Race victory for car owner Rick Hendrick and the 20th for manufacturer Chevrolet. The non-points exhibition event was the fifth consecutive win for Hendrick Motorsports dating back to the middle of May.
SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Hendrick Motorsports is on a roll heading into Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race, the Ally 400, at Nashville Superspeedway. The organization has won four consecutive points-paying events, sweeping at least the top-two positions in each, leading 842 of 946 laps (89%), and recording an average result of 5.7. Its finishes include 1-2-3-4 at Dover, 1-2-8 at Circuit of The Americas, 1-2-4-5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 1-2-9 at Sonoma Raceway. At NASCAR’s top level, no team has ever finished in both the first and second positions in five consecutive points races.
WRITE THIS DOWN: On seven different occasions in its history, Hendrick Motorsports has won at least four consecutive NASCAR Cup Series points races. In addition to 2021, it went to victory lane four straight times in 1996, 1998, 2007 and 2014. The organization has won five races in a row twice: 2007 and 2014. Hendrick Motorsports’ team record of six consecutive victories was also set in 2007. That year, it won 18 points races – the organization’s most in a single season – and went on three separate runs of four or more straight victories.
SIXTEEN TONS: Through the first 16 points races in 2021, Hendrick Motorsports has seven wins – the team’s second-most ever at this point in a NASCAR Cup Series season (it recorded 10 in 2007). At the 16-race mark, the organization’s 13 stage wins are the most ever by a team. Its 41 top-10 finishes are the second-most ever and 27 top-fives are tied for the second-most. The 1,590 laps led by Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolets rank as its fourth-most through 16 events behind only the 1995, 1996 and 2009 seasons.
REMEMBER WHEN: Although it occurred nearly 37 years ago at a different track, Hendrick Motorsports is the most recent NASCAR Cup Series team to win a race in the Nashville, Tennessee, market. On July 14, 1984, in the 17th race of its inaugural season, driver Geoff Bodine earned the organization’s second points-paying victory at the old Nashville Fairgrounds, where he led 327 of 420 laps in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Since that day, Hendrick Motorsports has gone on to win 268 more points races (270 to date) to become the all-time winningest team in NASCAR Cup Series history.
THE NASHVILLE SCENE: On Sunday, Nashville Superspeedway will become the 13th new track to hold a NASCAR Cup Series race since 1994. Hendrick Motorsports has won the inaugural event at five of the previous 12 venues (42%): Indianapolis in 1994 (Jeff Gordon), California in 1997 (Gordon), Kansas in 2001 (Gordon), the DAYTONA Road Course in 2020 (Chase Elliott) and Circuit of The Americas in 2021 (Elliott).
DAYS OF GOLD: Hendrick Motorsports has won four of the last eight NASCAR Cup Series races held on Father’s Day. Jimmie Johnson went to victory lane at Sonoma in 2010 and Michigan in 2014, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Michigan in both 2008 and 2012. Although he did not drive for Hendrick Motorsports at the time, Larson triumphed at Michigan in 2017, making him the most recent Father’s Day winner in the Cup Series.
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on how he is preparing for Nashville Superspeedway: “My preparation for this weekend is really going to revolve around the test that I’ve had at Nashville in the past. I actually had a test with the 24 team in 2013, back when Jeff (Gordon) was driving with Alan (Gustafson) and (engineer) Tom (Gray) and a lot of our same group that we have now. I’ve spent some time talking about that and just some of the tendencies that I remember from the racetrack. I feel like the rules have changed, the cars are different, and Cup has never raced there to look back at a ton of races. Maybe watching an Xfinity race or something, but I think a lot of it is really just going to be more from the test for me, personally.”
Elliott on being nominated for an ESPY: “It’s just an honor to be considered for an ESPY. I haven’t been doing this stuff near as long as guys like Lewis (Hamilton) and Scott (Dixon). I’m not sure I even belong on the same list as them, but it is such an honor to be there and be considered. Regardless of how it works out, I’ll certainly always be appreciative of being considered for something like that.”
Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on testing at Nashville Superspeedway: “We were lucky to have been able to test at Nashville Superspeedway when he tested for Hendrick Motorsports back seven or eight years ago. There may be a couple things that we can apply, but that test just gives us a rough baseline to know what drove decent back then, but things are so much different now. We have different tires, aero package and hopefully we are smarter than we were in then (laughing). Having that test definitely helps; it’s better than starting from square one with nothing.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!