Chase Elliott couldn’t be more motivated to match his May victory at Talladega Superspeedway. The second-generation NASCAR star boasts the top Driver Rating (93.4) and best Average Running Position (10.745) into Sunday’s race.
And after an uncharacteristic DNF at Dover last week, good vibes and good results are exactly what he needs.
Elliott is ranked 11th of the 12 remaining championship-eligible drivers after a 38th-place finish at Dover and is now seven points behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron in the eighth place “cutoff” position with two races remaining in this Playoff round. Obviously, the disappointing effort has created a situation for Elliott that forces his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team to rally. The encouraging news is that typically when they have needed to overcome adversity, Elliott and his team have.
Nine times in his five-year fulltime Cup career, Elliott has answered a sub-30th-place finish with a top 10 in the next race. Twice he’s won a race right after a subpar outing – including this season when he finished 28th at Pocono, Pa. and won the next week at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
On the season, Elliott has earned three wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. With six races remaining, Elliott has already tied his single-season best victory tally and is only two top-5 finishes shy of his career-best mark set in 2017.
He has a win this year at Talladega, three top-five finishes and a pole in seven previous starts at the big track. And he is the defending winner of next week’s race at Kansas Speedway, where he has three top-five finishes in seven starts, all coming in the last four races.