By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter & NASCAR Contributor
FORT WORTH, Texas — Chase Elliott ended up not needing a substitute driver for tonight’s rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 and ended with a strong fourth place finish.
Elliott started tonight’s 334 lap race just outside the top 10 in eleventh place but started working his way forward early in his No. 24 Kelly Blue Book Chevrolet.
Elliot ran near the bottom of the top ten for much of the race’s opening half. As the race settled into a rhythm, Elliot began to pick up his pace and move towards the front and by lap 180, he was sitting very pretty in fourth place.
He remained in the top five throughout the run until the yellow flag flew for Austin Dillon’s spin in Turns 3 and 4. A quick pitstop by his Hendrick Motorsports pit crew kept the 20-year-old in the top five for the upcoming restart on lap 261.
Elliott held on to fourth place as the yellow flag flew for Dillon’s subsequent contact with Kevin Harvick on lap 264. With rains quickly approaching, a few teams elected to pit for fresh tires while Elliott stayed on the racetrack to retain his track position.
The Dawsonville, Georgia, native got a clean restart on lap 270 and held his position until the rains returned on lap 291. The race was called just under 10 minutes later, securing Elliott his 10th top five finish of his rookie season. Carl Edwards scored his third win of the season.
Elliot felt that while he had a good car and thought even if the race would have run to it’s scheduled 334 lap distance, he might not have challenged Edwards or second and third place finishers Joey Logano and Martin Truex, Jr. for the win.
“I thought we had a pretty good car,” he said. “I don’t know that we had anything for those guys, at least on the short run. If it went real long into a run, I thought we could slightly run with them, given the right track conditions and what not. We will do our homework and get ready for the next two.”