The NASCAR Goodyear 400 is the best finish Chase Elliott has had since his return from his leg injury. He was humble after the race. You know you’re never going to get Elliott riled up too much. Even when he wins sometimes, it feels like he just whispers calmly about the race and what he had to do in order to win.
Chase Elliott wanted to put his dad Bill’s old Evernham Racing scheme into Victory Lane. However, there were a lot of fast cars on Sunday, especially those Hendrick Motorsports guys. Elliott will take his P3 finish and look forward to the All-Star Race as well as Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 in a couple of weeks.
With a result like he had Sunday, Elliott will count his fortune and get prepared for the next one. His pit crew did a great job all day of getting him off pit road ahead of other cars. He just couldn’t keep the momentum going at times.
“Felt like our car was pretty good all day,” Elliott told NASCAR. “I just get to traffic and struggled worse than other people driving that nice of a car. So, I don’t really feel like there’s any excuse for the day. We got really lucky to finish third, honestly.
“Pit stops were great, we’d come in and gain three or four spots every time we stop and then I’d give two or three up, then we’d gain three or four and I’d give almost all of them back up and we just kinda inched our way back forward through the day. Then obviously got lucky with how quick the cautions fell to keep our spot there at the end so, yeah. Just keep trucking.”
Chase Elliott building to a win
Of course, with every race that goes by without Chase Elliott winning, there is less of a chance to make the playoffs. Everyone expects Chase to win a race, but when is that coming? Time is starting to run out, for sure.
It isn’t time to panic though. The No. 9 team is still strong and has a great pit crew. Elliott is just feeling things out and trying to get his car in a position to win. There have been moments where it felt like he was going to poke his nose in there and mix it up with a few laps to go. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened yet.
Given the fact that Hendrick Motorsports has five wins this season, Elliott will likely be fine. These drivers are taking turns it seems winning races. It just happened to be William Byron’s turn to take the checkered flag this time.
The pressure is starting to build, but there is time. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion will have to earn his way to the playoffs with a win. Much easier said, than done, even for Chase Elliott.