By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
You may ask yourself how can a driver fly under the radar in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series elimination race? Chase Elliott found out by never being a factor for the win at Kansas Speedway.
Elliott finished inside the top-five after funning just inside the top-10 throughout the Hollywood Casino 400. He avoided trouble, staying ahead of a multi-car pile-up in his No. 24 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet SS. Elliott narrowly missed being clipped by Erik Jones, whose No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry broke loose, setting up a chain reaction that ended the Playoff chances of Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.
The race was dominated by the Toyotas of Kyle Busch and eventual race winner Martin Truex, Jr. As a result, Elliott never had the chance to get out front. He was seventh after Stage 1 and ninth after Stage 2.
Elliott admitted that his car just wasn’t good on the long run,
“It was a wild day for sure. We fought our balance all weekend. I know the result wasn’t terrible, but definitely feel like we could have been a lot better this weekend and just the way things worked out for us. But, our car got better as the day went along, we just didn’t have the balance on a very long run to go up and pass guys like you need to have. So, we will go to work and get this side of things ready for Texas.”
After the events of Kansas, Elliott is reseeded eighth in the Playoff standings. He now sits 63-points behind point leader Truex. Elliott is also 11-points behind Kevin Harvick, who holds the final transfer spot for the Championship Four.
Looking ahead to next weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway, Elliott’s odds are decent at the track nicknamed ‘The Paperclip.’ Among active drivers at Martinsville, he has the 18th-best average finish. In the five most recent races at the Virginia track, Elliott is 20th in average finishes with a driver rating of 78.1.
In Elliott’s career at Martinsville, he has just one top-five, which came earlier this season. He also won a stage in that race, as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Now Elliott, crew chief Alan Gustafson, and the entire No. 24 team will look to continue build on their success at Martinsville as they hope to earn their first victory and lock themselves into the Championship Four.