Chase Elliott finishes off a strong Sunday in third place

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 11: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 11, 2018 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – For Chase Elliott, Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway was a strong run that ended with a sigh of relief—that he finally got a finish worthy of the position he maintained throughout the afternoon.

In fact, with a quick early pit stop on Lap 255 of 312, Elliott cycled out ahead of eventual race winner Kevin Harvick. Elliott couldn’t stay in front of Harvick, who passed him on Lap 279 for what was then fourth place, but he managed to hold third behind Harvick and Kyle Busch to post his best finish of the season so far.

“Yeah, we had a good car,” Elliott said. “It was solid, you know? (Crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) made a good call there at the end, and we had a good pit stop there to get into the lead (ahead of Harvick), and I just felt like I needed a little bit of drive there to put the power down in front of him.

“I had a pretty good turn those last two runs, and before that I wasn’t turning good enough and (didn’t have) too good of forward bite.

“He (Harvick) was definitely the car to beat, and it felt like there were a lot of laps left. I tried my best to hold him off as long as I could, but I felt like him and Kyle had just a little bit on us. We’ll go to work and try to get better for California.”