DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Chase Elliott finally has his first victory in NASCAR's top series, and even though it was only an exhibition race, new rules earned Elliott a solid 10 points before the start of the season.
Elliott came close so many times to grabbing his first Cup victory during last year as a rookie, but fell short too many times for his liking. His breakthrough win came Thursday night in the first of two qualifying races for the season-opening Daytona 500.
Elliott is already the pole-sitter for Sunday's race, but he still used the 150-mile qualifier to test the speed and durability of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He was able to hold off Ford drivers Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick on the final lap.
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NASCAR's new format this year including a provision that awards points on a 10-to-1 declining scale to the top-10 finishers in the pair of qualifying races.