By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season for the full-time drivers in the series leading into February’s running of the Daytona 500.
Years in Cup: Five
Career Wins: Six
The 2019 season for Chase Elliott and the No. 24 team at Hendrick Motorsports was one that started with much promise, but after making the Playoffs for the fourth straight season, things took a turn for the worse and the wheels fell off down the stretch.
Elliott scored three wins last season, including a thrilling come from behind victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval to close out the first round of the Playoffs, as well as 11 top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes, and four poles.
Despite Elliott’s success, when the second round of the Playoffs started with a 38th place finish at Dover due to an engine failure, he would be playing catch-up the remainder of the season. He was able to squeak by with a top-10 at Talladega and a runner-up finish at Kansas, advancing into the Round of 8, but shortly thereafter the same bad luck he had at Dover caught back up with him.
The next three weeks, Elliott wasn’t able to bring home a finish better than 32nd and he found himself eliminated from Playoff contention when the checkered flag flew at Phoenix, ultimately finishing the season ranked 10th in points.
Though the season didn’t end the way he or the rest of the team would have liked, there is reason to be positive heading into 2020. Elliott has shown he has the speed to be able to win races and compete for the championship. The team just needs to be more consistent for them to be able to make a solid run at the title in the years ahead.
Elliott said as much during his comments from Champion’s Week in Nashville, noting the team has had the consistency they need in past seasons, they just need to be able to put all the pieces together for the upcoming season.
“We were just never able to put together consistent runs week in and week out and that’s what we needed,” Elliott said. “I know a couple of years ago there, in ’17, we ran second a lot, but we were running really consistent that year. If you can have that kind of consistency tied in with a win or two here or there, I think that’s the difference that we need.
“The good news is we’ve had both. Can we just put them together moving forward I think will be the key.”