By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
There won’t be a repeat victory for Chase Elliott at Dover International Speedway as a Lap 7 engine problem knocked him out of Sunday’s Drydene 400.
An early exit has caused tremendous implications as all three Round of 12 races (Dover, Talladega and Kansas) are tracks Elliott has won. Due to his success, he was viewed as one of the heavy favorites to punch his ticket into the next round.
Instead, a last-place result means he’ll be heading into both Talladega and Kansas in a must-win situation after reporting to his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team that something was a miss with his pink Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Elliott suddenly fell off the pace just as the first caution of the afternoon came out for debris. Once he brought the wounded car onto pit road, the No. 9 team opened the hood up to find the diagnosis before going into the garage.
Last Sunday’s Charlotte Roval winner said he doesn’t exactly know what happened to the motor as he felt his Chevrolet was running fine before losing pace.
“I just had an engine failure of some sort,” Elliott said. “Unfortunately, I don’t really know what it was, but it quit running. It didn’t really seem like anything was off. I was just kind of making laps but obviously had a failure. Unfortunate way to start the round for sure.”
His engine failure meant he’s the second playoff driver with issues in the first seven laps. Prior to the green flag, Joey Logano went to the garage due to a broken rear end axle. Unlike Elliott, Logano was able to head back to the one-mile concrete circuit on Lap 23.
Elliott commented that going forward, if he’s going to have a shot of making it to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in over a month from now, the next two races will be pivotal.
“I don’t know where we’ll stack up, but I assume we’ll have to win one of these next few weeks,” Elliott said. “If you ever make it to Homestead, you’ll have to win down there. I guess it’s a good opportunity to practice these next few weeks.”