HAMPTON, Ga. – Chase Elliott spent much of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 running in Kevin Harvick’s shadow.
Elliott had a fast Chevrolet, as he proved conclusively after incurring a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 212. Despite serving a pass-through for the infraction, Elliott stayed on the lead lap and was running faster lap times than Harvick when a debris caution on Lap 240 slowed the field and gave Elliott a chance to regain track position.
When the race restarted on Lap 284 after caution for Clint Bowyer’s hard contact with the Turn 2 wall, Elliott was running second, and he chased Harvick for 25 laps before another caution interrupted the proceedings on Lap 309.
But when Harvick drew a critical pit road speeding penalty on Lap 311, it wasn’t Elliott who capitalized. It was race winner Brad Keselowski. On a restart on lap 315, after a slow final pit stop, Elliott took the green in fourth position in the outside lane – a distinct disadvantage – and fell back to fifth at the finish.
“Yeah, (I’m) obviously frustrated,” Elliott said after the race. “I thought our car was as good as Kevin’s car was. I just think he did a little better job driving than what I was doing. I thought we could run second to him. The majority of the day I thought Brad at times was a little better than us, and at times I thought we were a little better than him.”
“On that last stop, we had just a little bit of a hiccup that lost us second spot unfortunately, and after Kevin’s misfortune, that would have put us in a really good spot. It’s one of those things where it’s hard to be frustrated at the pit crew, because those guys did a really good job all day long. We made spots up all day and gained time on Kevin.
“Every time I thought we were just inching closer to his back bumper as we came off pit road. I think we have a great foundation on pit road to build off of. I think (it’s) much improved, and just had a hiccup there at the end of the day, but I don’t think it’s something those guys should be discouraged over.”