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Chase Elliott’s fast Sprint Cup start compares favorably to what current drivers did

NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 Drive For Autism - Practice

DOVER, DE - MAY 14: Chase Elliott , driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 Drive For Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 14, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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As rookie Chase Elliott prepares for this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway, it marks a key milestone in his young career.

This will be his 19th career Sprint Cup race. Thus, he’s run in what would be equal to half a season.

When compared to the first 18 races of some drivers, Elliott matches well in regards to top-five and top-10 finishes.

Elliott, who ran five races last season, has nine top-10 finishes in his first 18 starts. Among current drivers, only Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart had more top-10 finishes at this point than Elliott did with 10 each.

Elliott has four top-five finishes at this point. Among active drivers, only Kasey Kahne had more top fives in his first 18 races with five. Also, former driver Jeff Gordon had five top-five finishes and eight top 10s in his first 18 career Cup races.

“I feel like I have a team and a group of guys that are capable of winning if I do my part for them,’' Elliott said Friday at Pocono Raceway.

Here’s how Elliott’s record in his first 18 races compares to those among current drivers in their first 18 Cup races.

WINS (0 by Chase Elliott)

2 - Jimmie Johnson

2 - Kevin Harvick

2 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

1 - Matt Kenseth

1 - Carl Edwards

1 - Brad Keselowski

1 - Jamie McMurray

1 - Trevor Bayne

Top Fives (4 by Chase Elliott)

5 - Kasey Kahne

4 - Jimmie Johnson

4 - Ryan Newman

4 - Tony Stewart

3 - Matt Kenseth

3 - Carl Edwards

3 - Kevin Harvick

3 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

3 - Jamie McMurray

3 - Kyle Larson

Top 10s (9 by Chase Elliott)

10 - Jimmie Johnson

10 - Tony Stewart

8 - Kevin Harvick

7 - Carl Edwards

6 - Ryan Newman

6 - Kyle Larson

6 - Matt Kenseth

6 - Denny Hamlin

6 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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