Chase Elliott has made the NASCAR postseason in all five years he’s been in Cup. None of the previous four have seen him land in the final round. In fact, the last three years Elliott’s championship hopes ended in the Round of 8. Does that change this year?
“We made the Round of 8 the last couple years. That’s a great thing,” Elliott said. “That’s a great achievement. But we always want more.
“We see the same people make the Final 4 every year. We’ve been very close to asserting ourselves amongst that group. I think we’re very capable of it. I think when we’re at our best, we run with those guys. I think we’ve proved that in the past.
“We just have to be a little more consistent, eliminate those bad racetracks, I think we can make some noise.” Elliott, is in the third round again. This time, I think it’s different. This time, a spot to Phoenix is more open. The last few years, we’ve had Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch all but assured a trip to Homestead for the championship. It was the “Big 3 + 1” lately. Now, Busch has been eliminated and Truex looks even with Elliott. Harvick and Denny Hamlin look to take two of the four spots, but two more are wide open. Elliott, has a strong case that it can be him taking one of them and giving Chevrolet their first Championship 4 driver since 2016. Elliott, has three top four finishes in his last three Kansas playoff starts. He has five top 10’s in nine Texas starts. Then, it’s to Martinsville to where Elliott was fifth this past June to go along with four top 10’s in his last five tries.
“You never know,” Elliott said of the next round. “That’s why we go race, is to find out who wins and who loses. Just excited to have the opportunity. I think it’s going to be a really big challenge for us to move on, as I think it is for everybody in this round, unless you just have a bunch of wins.”
Elliott said that the win on the ROVAL was big for bonus points and momentum purposes.
“I think today’s (Sunday’s) win is big,” Elliott continued. “Getting those extra five points can be the difference. We just have to bring our A game, push ahead, really try to execute three solid weeks.” Out of his nine Round of 8 starts to where he’s been championship eligible, Elliott has finished 23rd or worse in five of them. He only has one top five in those nine tries. Yes, Texas and Martinsville are the same as before, but Kansas is a new addition and he’s been so strong there. That and some recent momentum should help. But, what makes this year different than the others? He also entered hot in those years too but flamed out. Elliott, said that he needs to get back to his early season speed on 1.5-mile tracks to where he had five top eight finishes, four of those being in the top five, in six tries. His last four finishes on 1.5-mile tracks? 23rd, 12th, 12th and 22nd respectively. On 750’s like Martinsville, he does have four top seven finishes in his last five starts on them.