Since joining the NASCAR Cup Series in 2016 as a full-time driver for Hendrick Motorsports, Chase Elliott has never missed the playoffs.
But Elliott’s perfect streak of seven playoff appearances in as many attempts is in serious danger of coming to a screeching halt this year unless he can win one of the 13 remaining regular-season races.
Buried 28e in the standings after missing six races to heal from a broken tibia he suffered in a snowboarding accident between week 2 and week 3 of the 2023 season, Elliott is unlikely to qualify for the playoffs based on points. Therefore, a race win – resulting in an automatic playoff berth – appears to be the 2020 Cup Series champion’s only option.
Whether Elliott is ready for the task remains to be seen, but the three tracks we’ll look at next represent by far the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s best chance of doing so.
Watkins Glen International
A two-time winner at Watkins Glen, Chase Elliott claimed the No. 1 career NASCAR Cup Series win on the 2.45-mile road course in 2018 in what was his 99e Start of cut.
Elliott’s second triumph at the New York circuit came a year later, and he has finished second and fourth respectively in the two races held here since.
Last year, Elliott was in position to claim his third win at The Glen before being forced off the race track when teammate Kyle Larson gave him little leeway in a late restart. Still, Elliott led 29 of the 90 laps in his No. 9 Chevy and looked like the driver to beat before Larson’s aggressive move, which didn’t please Elliott and will no doubt be on his mind when the Cup Series will return to Watkins Glen in August. .
“Watkins Glen is where I got my first win, so it’s, of course, a place that holds fond memories for me,” Elliott said. “We had a lot of success there as a team, and I feel like we’ve come a long way in our road racing program with the new car. I feel like we can really go and have a good race.
Atlanta Motor Speedway
There’s no place like home, is there? For Chase Elliott, home is Dawsonville, Georgia – the suburb of Atlanta where he grew up and still maintains a permanent home.
About an hour and a half drive from Dawsonville is Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track where Elliott spent countless hours as a child watching his famous father – 1988 Cup Series champion Bill Elliott – compete for glory NASCAR at the highest level of sport. .
It’s no wonder Chase has a special affinity for the AMS, especially after winning the 1.54-mile oval for the first time last July. He’ll have the chance to earn back-to-back summer victories at AMS — and earn a playoff ticket, if he hasn’t already — when the Cup Series returns to its tracks in July.
“Moments like the Atlanta race last July are moments that you wish you could remember and somehow keep,” Elliott said. “To have a day like ours is truly amazing, and certainly a day that I will embrace and enjoy very much.”
Chase Elliott beats .500 at the Nashville Superspeedway, the 1.33-mile concrete track the NASCAR Cup Series has visited each of the past two years.
After being disqualified from the inaugural Nashville race for having five loose lug nuts on his car during post-race inspection, Elliott enjoyed a much more favorable result last season when he took the flag checkered just over half a second ahead of finalist Kurt Busch. .
“It’s a cool city,” Elliott said of Nashville, where he led 42 of the 300 laps on his way to winning in 2022. “It’s a great place. It’s a great place to run. It’s a city that I think embraces NASCAR, and we embrace the people there.
“For me, it’s close to home. It’s hard to win anywhere, but when you win close to home like that, it’s pretty special.
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