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Chase Elliott finds his rookie rhythm

March 13, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR Wire Service,

Elliott leads all rookies in the Nationwide Series, currently standing in fifth place

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Over the first three races of the 2014 season, NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott has continued to make progress.

In the season-opening race at Daytona, the 18-year-old son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, finished a respectable 15th. The following week he notched his first top 10 in the series, coming home ninth at Phoenix. Then last week, the younger Elliott posted his first top-five finish at Las Vegas, when he placed fifth.

If Elliott is able to continue his upward trajectory, its feasible that he could be celebrating in Victory Lane following Saturday's Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 presented by Lilly Diabetes (2 p.m. ET on ESPN2) in his inaugural series visit to Bristol Motor Speedway.

"It's going to be important to learn as much as we can to help build that notebook for the fall," Elliott said. "The past two races, my NAPA AUTO PARTS team has been getting into a nice rhythm and we want to build on our fifth-place finish at Vegas this weekend in Bristol."

Prior to this weekend, Elliott has competed at the .533-mile short track three times, including the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in August 2013 where he finished fifth. He placed 10th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race in 2012. In his first race at the track -- in the X-1R Pro Cup Series -- Elliott came home with a fifth-place showing.

He is currently fifth in the standings, only 14 points behind leader Regan Smith. In the rookie race, Elliott leads all rookies with Ty Dillon in second (-four).