By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The combination of Chase Elliott and Martinsville Speedway has certainly been eventful. Maybe a bit of an understatement considering the luck he’s had in Virginia, highlighted with last fall’s wild comeback win.
Eventful wasn’t the word during Sunday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. The defending Cup Series champion finished second after passing Denny Hamlin late in the going, equaling his best result this season.
However, if you ask him how his 500-lap race went, he bluntly said it was uneventful. Compared to the luck Elliott has had in his title defense and how the race unfolded for others, he’d rather have an uneventful day
“Every week I feel like it’s been one thing or another, a bad run or just whatever. Just nice to have just a smooth day, no damage. We didn’t break anything. Everything was just smooth. It was uneventful,” Elliott commented.
“That’s the days you have to have to compete for wins ultimately. Some of that is in your hands, some of it’s not,” Elliott continued. “Truly nice to have an uneventful day, so to speak, just get a solid finish. Got some solid stage points. It was definitely a step in the right direction for us.”
A positive direction it was for Elliott, who knows that strong results are crucial for his bid of going back-to-back titles. That in mind, the biggest setback that kept him from scoring another Martinsville win was rear grip.
“That was also the problem there at the end,” Elliott on what kept him from denying Martin Truex, Jr. a third grandfather clock.
“I just didn’t have the drive I needed to get up off the corner like I wanted and to be able to really get the power down early. Solid day, but just came up short.”
After eight races, Elliott has three top-fives and sits seventh in the regular season standings. He trails Hamlin by 119 points which coincidentally, are the top-two drivers in points that haven’t visited victory lane.
Elliott will look to become the eighth different winner in next Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (3 p.m. ET on FOX). In 10 starts, Elliot has three top-fives with a runner-up in Spring 2018 being his best effort to date.