Hendrick Motorsports remarkable 2021 success story continued once again as Chase Elliott recorded a historic first victory at the Circuit of the Americas and in doing so also netted Chevrolet’s 800th victory in NASCAR.
“I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never won a rain race before, so that’s cool,” Elliott is quoted on motorsport.com. “I’m just super-proud of mine and their ability to continue to fight. When we started we weren’t very good. I just kept pushing myself and we kept making changes throughout the day where I thought we were on pace with the other guys at the end.
“I’m looking forward to next week and trying to make it continue.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) May 24, 2021
Elliott started the inaugural COTA race in eighth place and as rain started to fall on the circuit, he pitted for wet tires and was in tenth place for the first caution on lap seven and 12th at the end of the opening stage.
By the time of the third caution during stage two, Elliott was up to sixth and further improved to second by the stage break. Having passed teammate Alex Bowman for the lead of the race with 19 laps of the race remaining, a heavy downpour five laps later meant the cars were called in under a red caution and shortly afterwards the 25-year-old driver was declared the winner.
Kyle Larson made it an even more successful day for the team with his second-place finish for his third runner-up result of the season.
Victory for Elliott means that Hendrick Motorsports, partnered by Acronis, needs only one more race win to surpass Petty Enterprises’ long-standing accomplishment of most race wins.
“I just kept pushing myself harder harder,” added Elliott. “There were some areas on the track that were very treacherous I felt like. The backstretch was puddling up and we were started to hydroplane and some other weird stuff.
“My only option was to just kind of send it through those spots and just hope for the best.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) May 23, 2021