Coming into the STP 500, Chase Elliott was hoping to complete all the laps and finish on the lead lap. However, his Sprint Cup Series debut wouldn’t go as hoped as he finished 38th.
“There was a lot of stuff going on today,” Elliott said. “This is a different ball game. These guys are here for a reason. We need to get a little better and get used to these cars.”
Starting in the 27th spot, Elliott was conservative through the beginning of the race, cracking the top 20 around lap 50. However, on a lap 61 restart, the field would bunch up mid-pack, resulting in heavy damage to the front and back of his No. 25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Pieces began to fall off, resulting in a caution for debris at lap 73. Elliott would then take the car behind the wall to receive repairs, including a new radiator and power steering box.
Elliott returned to the track on lap 137, completing the rest of the laps to get more experience under his belt. The 19-year-old was good at staying out of the leader’s way during those laps, going to the high side through the corners so the leaders could run the bottom.
“I just tried to stay out of the way,” Elliott said after the race. “You want to give those guys respect, and you hope one day you’re in position to earn it back. I hate that happened, but we’ll be ready for Richmond in a few weeks.”
Elliott is set to make four more starts this season, before running the full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2016.
Welcome to Cup, got some work to do!
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) March 29, 2015