The Hendrick Motorsport Team, partnered by Acronis, continued its fine start to the 2021 NASCAR season as Chase Elliott notched his second runner-up finish in Virginia ahead of teammates William Byron, who finished fourth ahead of Kyle Larson.
Elliott is no stranger to success around the Martinsville Speedway, having won on his last outing around “The Paperclip” and made another strong bid for victory, ultimately just losing out to race winner Martin Truex Jr.
.@chaseelliott taking over P4️⃣ on the outside?
Impressive. Most impressive. pic.twitter.com/nlJBHDnJZl
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 11, 2021
Rolling off the line in fifth position, Elliott held position until the first caution on Lap 37 and restarted fourth, where he finished Stage 1. By Lap 218, he was running a strong fifth and after pitting for fresh tires and fuel, he finished the stage in the same position.
Now came the Elliott charge, a stage break pitstop put him back into the mix in 13th place before he forged his way through the field. Further cautions saw the Hendrick man running in fourth before a an on-track incident enabled him to pit under the yellow flag and retain track position.
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) April 11, 2021
Following the final caution of the race on Lap 452, Elliott pitted for a fresh set of tires and fuel before passing Denny Hamlin to claim a hard-fought runner-up spot.
“Every week I feel like it’s been one thing or another, a bad run or just whatever. Just nice to have just a smooth day, no damage. We didn’t break anything. Everything was just smooth,” Elliott is quoted on motorsport.com.
“It was uneventful. That’s the days you have to have to compete for wins ultimately. Some of that is in your hands, some of it’s not. Truly nice to have an uneventful day, so to speak, just get a solid finish. Got some solid stage points. It was definitely a step in the right direction for us.”
“I think this is an important race. They’re all important, but for sure, when you get down to that Round of 8, if you’re still alive in that deal, a win at any of those tracks gives you an opportunity. As long as it’s where it’s at in the (playoffs) it will always be an important race.”
It all means that after eight rounds of racing, Elliott advances his position to seventh in the drivers’ standings, hot on the heels of Hendrick teammate Byron and 20 points shy of 4th placed Larson.
“I definitely think winning is a crucial part to the playoffs,” added Elliott. “It doesn’t guarantee you as you go along. It sure does hedge your bet and having a successful playoff run if you have wins in the bank. I want to be on that side of the fence when that rolls around rather than in the opposite position.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) April 12, 2021