Chase Elliott’s goal for All-Star Race weekend: ‘beat the best of the best’

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On Sunday, Chase Elliott will go about his usual weekend business of racing in the Xfinity Series, this time at Iowa Speedway in the 3M 250.

But on Friday night, the defending Xfinity Series champion will continue his baptism into the Sprint Cup Series. as he races his No. 25 NAPA Chevrolet in the Sprint Showdown, the preliminary race to Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race.

Hendrick Motorsports added the 40-lap exhibition to the 19-year-old’s 2015 Sprint Cup schedule in April.

Elliott, who will replace Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016, was originally scheduled to race in five events.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to run the Showdown,” Elliott said in a release. “It allows me to gain more experience with my NAPA AUTO PARTS team before we race again at Charlotte a week later. Those additional laps will be a tremendous benefit when it’s time to run 600 miles. I’m grateful to (Hendrick Motorsports owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and everyone at NAPA for the chance to do it.”

Should Elliott win either of the Showdown’s two, 20-lap segments or win the Sprint Fan Vote, he would advance to the five segment, 110-lap All-Star Race, where he would compete with past Sprint Cup Champions and All-Star Race winners.

Elliott’s father, Bill Elliott, won the second edition of the All-Star Race in 1986, when it was called The Winston and was held at Atlanta International Raceway.

“Without a doubt you know that you beat the best of the best,” Elliott said. “With the varying strategies that take place and the segments and how many laps and all the different things we’ve had over the years, there hasn’t been one set path to get there. It’s a very rewarding night, a night the team really enjoys. There’s a different atmosphere with the pressure being off and a million reasons to have fun after.”