By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In the first race of the Round of 12 last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott led 103 laps before a wreck on Lap 258 ended his day and put the rookie driver three points behind the final transfer spot to the Round of 8 heading to Kansas Speedway.
Elliott qualified 13th for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 and was one of just three Chase drivers that started outside the top-12. Elliott cracked the top-three at Lap 121 and passed Kevin Harvick for the lead on Lap 169 of the 267-lap race before a left-rear tire issue resulted in an unscheduled pit stop. Elliott would lose a lap and return to the track one lap down in the 24th position.
The Dawsonville, Georgia native would get back on the lead lap under the seventh caution of the race at Lap 222 but a second tire issue with 23 laps remaining forced the team to come to pit road for the second unscheduled stop of the afternoon.
“It was two different things I think,” Elliott said of the tire issues. “The left rear was a matter of getting up on the racetrack, I think I may have hit the banking too hard and it just kinked the fender a little bit. The other one, we found the wall a couple of times trying to get back towards the front and I thought we had it pulled out but it’s hard to tell until you get back going. It could have been worse I guess, but it’s definitely unfortunate.”
With two finishes outside the top-30 the past two weeks, it’s been an unfortunate start to the Round of 12 for Elliott.
“I felt like I had a really good car and something that could compete today,” Elliott said. “That’s something to be proud of. Some of the stuff you can control and some of it you can’t. It’s just one of those deals unfortunately.”
Elliott would finish three laps down in the 31st position and is 25 points behind the final transfer spot to the Round of 8 heading to the final race of the round next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I will just go there, and race our hearts out and try to win I guess. That’s about all we can do I guess. We have something to be proud of in the way we have been running. There are just some things we can’t control. These guys deserve better on this SunEnergy1/ NAPA team. We are bummed, but what do you do. You just have to move on.”