DRIVER: Chase Elliott / No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS
RACE: Martinsville Speedway 500 (Race 33 of 36)
TRACK: Martinsville Speedway
DATE: Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016
NAPA AUTO PARTS: This will be the 23rd and penultimate primary paint scheme weekend of the year for NAPA AUTO PARTS on board Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports. NAPA will also be displayed on the hood in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
REIGNING ROOKIE: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Martinsville Speedway by 61 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 90 points over third-place Chris Buescher. Elliott has accumulated a total of 286 rookie points this year through the first 32 races. He has yet to win his first race, but claims nine top-five showings – the most by a rookie since Carl Edwards scored 13 in 2005.
ROUNDING OUT THE ROUND OF 12: Elliott and the No. 24 team gave it all they had, but a win at Talladega Superspeedway eluded them Sunday. With that, the rookie’s run in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup comes to an end. Elliott was one of four drivers eliminated at Talladega as the Chase moves to the Round of 8. While Elliott’s bid for a championship ended, he still had an impressive run in NASCAR’s postseason, leading laps in all but one of the six races after becoming one of only three rookies to ever make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs.
NO. 24 CLOCKING IN: The No. 24 Chevrolet SS team has earned nine Martinsville grandfather clocks since 1993 with its most recent victory coming last fall with Gordon behind the wheel. It marked his final victory in the No. 24 Chevrolet before passing the wheel to Elliott.
TRUCK OR TREAT: Elliott is entered to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday afternoon, marking his first start of the season in the series. He will race in the No. 71 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Valvoline Chevrolet for Carlos Contreras with Mike Bumgarner as the crew chief. The 20-year-old driver has competed in nine Truck Series races, earning one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes with his most recent start occurring in November 2013. He has raced at Martinsville twice in the Truck Series, both for Rick Hendrick. The rookie will look to gain experience that will transfer over to the Sprint Cup Series event on Sunday.
JEOPARDY! The NAPA AUTO PARTS driver will be featured on “Jeopardy!” – America’s Favorite Quiz Show – on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET. He will be asking a question on the Daytime Emmy Award-winning TV game show.
Driver Quotes | Chase Elliott
“Everything is a challenge for me at Martinsville. It has been a rough going every time I have been. I’m definitely going to look into it a lot this week before we go back, and running the truck race there on Saturday should help, too. I’ve had a lot of thoughts on it from the first race we ran this year as to what I want to do different going back and to try to just rethink that place. I didn’t have many short tracks that were similar to Martinsville in shape and size growing up short-track racing. A lot of the places were a little bigger, didn’t have quite as tight of a corner and not quite as heavy of braking. A lot of that stuff I’m just trying to sort through and trying to get an idea what I need to do to improve. I have some great teammates and I’ve tried to talk to the guys who have dominated that place over the years – especially Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie (Johnson). I’ve spent a ton of time with each of them talking about Martinsville and trying to walk through some of the things that they do, some of the things they look for. I think, especially Jeff, the success he has had there last fall for instance; I’ve tried to talk to him as much as I could about that place. Both of them have been just as open as they can be about the things they look for, how they attack the track and the things they think that they are going to fight throughout a race. I just haven’t quite been able to put that together on the racetrack yet. I think if I focus on trying not to get too ahead of myself and focusing on the things that you focus on to short-track race – especially keeping that longevity in your race car over a long run -- will help. Making it to the end and running all 500 miles is obviously the most important thing, but I think just short-track racing in general you just want to try not to get too far ahead of yourself. I’m looking forward to trying to improve on that.”