9 CHASE ELLIOTT
Age: 25 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
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No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
EIGHT TO GO: The NASCAR Cup Series is just eight races shy of the conclusion of the 2021 season. Heading into the final race of the Round of 16, Chase Elliott sits seventh in the playoff standings, 19 points above the cutline. So far this season, Elliott has garnered two wins, 12 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and led a total of 395 laps.
CUTOFF RACE CONQUERER: The Cup Series is heading to the first cutoff race in the playoffs and Elliott has proven to excel with a little extra pressure. He and the No. 9 team have won the last three playoff elimination races (2020 – the Charlotte ROVAL, Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix Raceway).
WELCOME BACK, HOOTERS: This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hooters will make its final 2021 appearance on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE with the Night Owl paint scheme. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, the Atlanta-based company has been a three-race primary sponsor of the No. 9 team this year. Elliott also piloted the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet in May at Darlington Raceway and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in August.
NIGHT OWL: As Elliott’s Hooters Night Owl paint scheme returns to the track on Saturday, Elliott has also proven to be quite the night owl himself. In the last 16 night races, he holds a 9.69 average finishing position, the third-highest of drivers who have competed in all 16 of those events.
SHORT-TRACK STATS: On Saturday night at Bristol, Elliott will make his 36th short-track start in the Cup Series. In those previous 35 races, he has collected one win, 12 top-five finishes, including three runner-up results, 18 top-10s and led 833 laps. In the eight short-track races, Elliott has earned more points (337) than any other driver.
‘THUNDER VALLEY’ STATS: This weekend, Elliott will make his 11th NCS start on the concrete configuration at Bristol. In his 10 previous events held on the .533-mile oval, the driver of the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet secured three top-five finishes, five top-10s and led 310 laps – the most laps led for Elliott at a track where he has not won. In addition, Elliott also led 60 laps en route to winning the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race held at Bristol in July 2020. The 25-year-old driver also holds the longest active streak for races led at Bristol (five) and has won three of the last six stages at the track.
2021 SHORT TRACKS: The Cup Series has competed four times short tracks in 2021: the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race, Martinsville Speedway and twice at Richmond Raceway. Elliott has top-10 results at three of the events – a second-place finish at Martinsville, 10th-place performance at Bristol and fourth-place result at last week’s playoff race at Richmond.
GUSTAFSON AT BRISTOL: On Saturday, No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 32nd Cup Series race at Bristol. In his previous 31 starts at the track with five different drivers (Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Elliott), Gustafson has accumulated one points-paying win, nine top-five finishes – including two runner-up results – 16 top-10s and 910 laps led. He also was victorious last season in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race with Elliott.
ELIMINATION SITUATION: Entering the final event of the opening round of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has won eight of the 28 elimination races held since 2014, including three in 2020: the Charlotte ROVAL, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. The team has won at least one elimination race in each of the last three seasons.
BMS SUCCESS: Eleven of Hendrick Motorsports’ 52 NASCAR Cup Series short-track wins (best of active teams) have come at Bristol, where it has secured 12 pole positions and led more than 6,000 laps. The organization holds the BMS track records for top-five finishes (60) and top-10s (109). A record six different drivers have won there for team owner Rick Hendrick.
SWEET 16: Hendrick Motorsports has gone to victory lane in eight of the last 16 Cup Series races (50%). No other organization has won more than three times in that span.
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to Bristol’s concrete configuration: “It’s a little different, for sure. It seems like (Bristol) did a really good job of how they put the dirt down and took it back up to where the track surface doesn’t really look any different. I anticipate everybody will adapt pretty quickly. The Bristol night race is always one of my favorite races of the year. It’s a great environment. To me, it’s one of the coolest events on our schedule. It will be an exciting weekend. I am glad it’s in the playoffs and we get to go up there and enjoy a Saturday night in eastern Tennessee.”
Elliott on Bristol being a cutoff race: “A cutoff race at Bristol is perfect. It’s a great event. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite races of the year and, honestly, I feel like it is one of the most exciting events of the year. It’s one that has been that way for a long time on our schedule. I think that’s a great place for a cutoff, and I am glad it’s in the playoffs.”
Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the high-pressure playoff format: “It’s tough; that’s one of the hardest things about it. It’s a long time; just under a third of the season. A lot can happen, and you can have the best-laid plans and something happens that puts you in a tough spot. You just have to maximize your opportunities and your moments to try to get ahead. When it gets really tough is when you have a bad week to start a round, then you’re behind. You’re trying to reach and make too much happen. (We’re) just trying to stay ahead, execute, maximize points and keep ourselves on the front side of it. That takes a lot of the pressure off.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!