BRISTOL, Tenn. – Fresh from the best finish of his fledgling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career – a fifth-place showing at Texas last week – Chase Elliott continues his baptism by fire with his first competition in a Cup car at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Elliott has no experience at the super-fast .533-mile concrete oval. At age 17, he ran at Thunder Valley in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the only time, winning the pole and finishing fifth.
In four NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Bristol in 2014 and 2015, Elliott posted a best finish of third and a worst of ninth. So in five NASCAR national series starts at Bristol, Elliott has never finished outside the top 10, a streak he hopes to preserve in Sunday’s Food City 500.
“I’m excited,” Elliott said on Friday morning before opening Cup practice. “What a cool place Bristol is. It’s a track I’ve always enjoyed coming to, to watch as a fan, and one that I certainly never wanted to miss watching at home. Very neat to be here and be here and be a part of the Cup Series race this weekend.
“We’ve had some good runs and some not so good runs on the XFINITY side. We ran a Truck race here and I think a Pro Cup race here. I’ve been fortunate enough to race here a handful of times over the past four or five years. Hopefully, we can take a little bit of that knowledge that we have gathered over those races and try to apply it this weekend.”
The Pro Cup race Elliott referenced was in 2010, when he was 14. He finished fifth. And in his lone NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol in 2010, he ran 10th.
The experienced gained in those seven starts should stand Elliott in good stead when he lines up with the world’s best on Sunday.