Elliott does what he needs to do to advance to his 3rd straight Championship 4 appearance

MARTINSVILLE, VA — Chase Elliott came into Sunday’s Xfinity 500 in a somewhat comfortable position. All he had to do was take care of business on Saturday and then maintain on Sunday. That gameplan worked. Elliott qualified on the front row for the 3rd straight time by starting second. He then passed teammate and pole sitter Kyle Larson for the lead on Lap 68. Elliott would lead the next 52 laps before getting passed by Denny Hamlin for the top spot on Lap 120.

Elliott had a front row seat for Hamlin’s domination. Hamlin led the next 203 laps. Elliott was 2nd for all which included a second place in both stages. That gained him 18 stage points which took him from +11 to +35 entering the final stage.

Again, just maintain. That’s what he did. Elliott would finish 11th in his No. 9 Chevrolet for his third Championship 4 appearance, each coming in the last three years too.

Elliott however is backing his way into the final round with just two top 10 finishes in the last 10 races. He’s also started the first race of each round terribly. He crashed in the Southern 500 and would finish 36th. He had a tire go down while leading in Texas and finished 36th. In Vegas, he was just off and came home 21st.

“Yeah, super mixed emotions,” Elliott said. “We made the drivers side and didn’t make the owners side. Just would have loved to have gotten the boss two cars in there. So certainly excited from the driver standpoint, but would have loved to have gotten both those boxes checked. Unfortunately didn’t.

“But, yeah, looking forward to getting home and working through what we need to work through to get ready for Phoenix. Certainly we’ll be ready to go the best we know how next Sunday.”

With Phoenix being a single round winner take all race, can he avoid the problems and score his 2nd championship in the last 3 years? The regular season champion has won the title in 3 of the 5 years of this format (2017, 2019, 2021). Each time in odd years. Can Elliott become the 4th but the first to do so in an even numbered year?

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