SALEM, Ind. – Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, finished fourth in the ARCA Racing Series event at Salem Speedway on April 29.
This is Elliott’s second top-10 result in just two ARCA career starts. In his series debut on March 10, he led 22 laps and finished 10th at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway.
“It was a great learning experience that our Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com team can build on,” Elliott said. “We now have a better idea on how we can improve the No. 9 Chevy in the ARCA Series. And of course, I now have some more experience so I’m focused on becoming a stronger driver in the series. With another ARCA race under our belt, there’s no reason we can’t win one of these races. I think we can do it.”
Elliott started Sunday’s event third, and consistently ran inside the top four early in the race. When the 200-lap event saw its third caution at Lap 78, crew chief Lance McGrew called Elliott into the pits for two tires. At the restart on Lap 88, Elliott was fourth.
Seven laps later, Elliott slammed on his brakes to avoid an incident that unfolded in front of him and the yellow flag was waved. Elliott received minor left front and nose damage to his No. 9 Chevrolet because he made contact with the No. 25 car of Brennan Poole in front of him. As a result, Elliott was forced to pit twice under the caution to avoid going a lap down. The Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com team worked quickly and successfully fixed the damage in those two stops and kept Elliott on the lead lap. On the restart at Lap 101, Elliott was in the 13th position.
An incident at Lap 133 brought out the race’s fifth caution, so Elliott came into the pits running 12th for four tires. When the race resumed on Lap 140, Elliott had gained two positions after a quick pit stop and was 10th on the restart. Six laps later, he was already up to seventh.
The 16-year-old Elliott maintained his seventh-place position as the event approached its end. With five laps to go, he battled his way through the field, passing three cars in just one lap to improve to fourth. When the checkered flag waved at Lap 200, he finished fourth.
Next up, Elliott will drive his No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet in the May 19 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Iowa Speedway.