2020 Champion Chase Elliott said that he was “pretty pleased” with his 2021 Daytona 500 as he begins the defense of his title.
Elliott might have finished second but he didn’t challenge winner Michael McDowell enough to secure his first Daytona 500 win. He became second after missing a late multi-car crash. However, the finish was Elliott’s personal best in the Daytona 500.
Speaking about the race, Elliott admitted defeat even though he finished second. The Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet driver said:
“I don’t think it was very close. I kind of got next to him and I saw the lights come on, so I knew it was over right then. Just a huge thanks to NAPA, Chevrolet and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. I felt like we had a fast car. We weren’t as good as I thought we were on Thursday. I felt like we did a really good job executing today.
“Staying out of trouble – that’s not something I’ve done a very good job of here in this race, so I’m glad we could at least finish this one and have something to build on for when we come back and try to do better. … The top was just so fast. It didn’t seem to matter who got down low; you couldn’t really make anything go. We all kind of tried at certain points in time; it just didn’t work out. Close – we finished one, so I’m pretty pleased with that.”
With the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season kicking off with the Daytona 500, Elliott will be looking to get his first win of the season sooner than later. He could do so at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 next weekend.