By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
An extremely bad month by Chase Elliott is an understatement.
Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway capped off a not just a forgettable month, but the entire weekend.
After crashing his primary car in practice, Elliott and the entire No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet team pulled out the backup car.
While it slowed them down drastically, Elliott was able to work his way inside the top-10, a feat he hasn’t since a fourth-place finish at Pocono in June.
Since the last stop at the “Tricky Triangle,” an engine failure at Sonoma and getting caught in a crash at Daytona highlight a bad string of races. Only an 11th at Chicagoland has been the fan favorite’s best effort.
Unfortunately, near the end of Stage 2 was when disaster struck once again. While running in sixth, Elliott’s right front tire went down in Turn 3 and slammed the wall.
Elliott was able to being his car into pit road, but the collateral damage marked the end of his agonizing race weekend. As not only he’ll end up 38th due to his fourth DNF of 2019, but also his first career last-place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Other than something being amiss on his unhappy Hendrick Motorsports machine, Elliott isn’t sure what led to his crash.
“It’s just unfortunate. It’s been a rough month, little over a month now,” said Elliott. “It’s just an unfortunate rough patch. Hopefully we can get past it. The good news is that we are still in the summer months, so the stuff that really matters is still ahead. I just hate to come to these places and not be able to learn something from it.
“I felt like our day was finally turning around for our NAPA team. We were finally moving forward. I think we were running in the top-10 there when we crashed. I feel like we were finally getting our car going. Obviously, we crashed yesterday so this car was taking some time to get adjusted. I thought we were doing a good job of it. I don’t really know what to do about that, but just move on.”
Fortunately for Elliott, racing in July is finally over as August is near and the first stop is Watkins Glen International Aug. 3, the site of his maiden Cup win last year.