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March 5, 2017

Chase Elliott

Hampton, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Now we are joined by today's fifth‑place finisher, Chase Elliott, driver of the No.24 NAPA Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. You were able to overcome a speeding penalty on pit road to really battle up front for the remainder of the day. Walk through what it took for you and your team to really overcome that obstacle.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, just had a good car and was able to stay on the lead lap, and we caught a caution at the right time to kind of bunch everybody back up, had a good pit stop, jumped three or four guys on pit road, had a good restart, and I think the outside lane got stacked up so we were back up in fifth, and luckily just kind of right back in the game.
A little bit of luck, a little bit of good pit stops, and kind of worked out, just didn't work out when it counted.

Q. Chase, what's your thinking on why there were so many speeding penalties today?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I think I know why, but I really don't want to share why. There's something that I think a lot of guys are kind of aware of that goes on on pit road, and that's something we need to address kind of internally. But I have a pretty good reasoning, and I think why it was, but I really don't want everybody else to know.

Q. Something specific to here?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Could be everywhere.

Q. Chase, I guess you get tired of answering the question about coming close and not winning, but I was wondering what went on on the final stop. Sort of walk through the last few laps and summarize how you felt when it was done.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, obviously frustrated. You know, 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, at times I thought we were a little better than him, and 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. Those guys having that first pit box obviously didn't have to go far, but 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 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.

Q. I know you said you wouldn't talk specifically, but is the speeding thing you think everybody will correct and it'll be fine next week, or is it something people are working on and you'll keep creeping toward whatever the edge is to where you finally find what to do?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I think it'll be corrected next week. It's not that big of a deal. But it can be a big deal, you know, and in our case and in Kevin's case and all the guys that got caught. But no, I think it'll be fixed directly.

Q. In two parts, first, in regards to your runs here, you came really close, had strong runs in the XFINITY car, had a strong run last year, had a strong run again today at Atlanta. It kind of gives me the feel a little bit of when Kyle Busch at Las Vegas would come so close so many times at Vegas before he finally won there a few years back. What is it about this place, besides, of course, the home track thing, what is it that suits you here, and then talk a little bit about what it means just to be able to perform this consistently each time in front of your home fans.
CHASE ELLIOTT: I think a couple things. I think, one, having good race cars‑‑ if you don't have a good race car, I don't care how good you are, you're going to struggle. I've been fortunate to have some good cars here over the past three years. I think the other part is I was teammates with Kevin Harvick here with JRM in 2014 during my first trip here. I learned a lot from him, and I think that's the other reason.

Q. Kind of the question that sort of has bubbled on the surface all weekend long and really bubbled up this morning is to pave or not to pave?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, I think the way it is currently is better than the alternative myself. I think everybody kind of has their own opinion. But you know, A, I guess it depends on how they repave it, if they're going to do it, and what kind of‑‑ how the process would work would kind of determine how good or bad it would be, but I like it the way it is. I think it has a lot of character, and to me it puts on good racing and allows you to kind of move around and do some different things, especially as the sun went down. I thought that offered up some more opportunity for moving around the racetrack and making it work.

Q. With this being the first race, have you noticed any differences between the 2016 downforce package and this year's downforce package here at Atlanta?
CHASE ELLIOTT: No, I really haven't to be honest with you. I think it's real similar. You know, the spoiler is all but gone now. But it's real similar to what it was last year in my opinion.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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