TALLADEGA, Ala – Chase Elliott never typically starts a season off on the right footing. I wrote about that before the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season even started. Through the first 15 races last year, Elliott only had three top five finishes. He had five top fives in the first 17 races of the year prior.
What did he do in the second half of both seasons?
Elliott had 10 top 10 finishes over the final 14 races of 2017 including six top five’s over the final 10 races.
Last year, Elliott had 13 top 10 finishes in the final 16 races including three wins and six top fives over the final 14 races then.
In 2019, Elliott started the year off with just one top 10 finish, a runner-up in Martinsville, in the first nine starts to the season. Another slow start. But, unlike the year’s past, maybe this is the season he gets hotter sooner.
See, Elliott won his fourth race of his Cup career in Sunday’s GEICO 500 for a trip to victory lane already in his 10th start of the year. Yes, I know it’s a superspeedway and one that you can’t take a lot over to translate for other races, but it’s all about momentum for the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
He now has it.
It’s not like Elliott has been terrible either. In his prior seven starts, Elliott had seven top 15 finishes. He was a top 15 car, but needed more speed.
He got it via a win on Sunday.
When looking at the upcoming schedule, look what’s coming up too. Next week is to Dover, a place where Elliott won last Fall. Then, it’s to Kansas, another place Elliott won last Fall too. After that, it’s to Charlotte, a place where Elliott finished runner-up on the oval in the Fall of 2017 and 11th last May. Then, it’s to Pocono, a place where Elliott has five top 10 finishes in six Cup Series starts. From there, it’s to Michigan where Elliott has six top 10 finishes in six tries, including three of which being runner-ups. Two of those runner-ups are in the June race too.
What’s after that?
Sonoma, a place where Elliott has finished eighth and fourth respectively his last two tries. Oh yeah, Elliott won the last road course race at Watkins Glen last August as well. Where do we go next?
Chicago, a place where Elliott has two top three finishes in three tries. Then, it’s to Daytona where Elliott just won a superspeedway race at Talladega on Sunday.
This sets up what could be a remarkable run for Elliott over the next three months. He has momentum heading to favorable tracks for him.