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Elliott on New Hampshire loss: "You need to finish them off"

In a season where it has been especially difficult for any driver to stand out, Chase Elliott is doing exactly that and yet he’s still disappointed.

While Elliott has won two of the last four races in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s the two runner-up finishes in that span that weigh on his mind, including Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

A two-tire pit call on the final stop of the race unexpectedly took Martin Truex Jr. – who dominated much of the race – out of contention. Elliott, who took four new tires on his final stop, took advantage, moving into the lead on Lap 247 of 341.

It appeared he may be in position to claim his fourth win of the season but Christopher Bell – who also took four tires on his final stop – ran Elliott down and passed him for the lead with 41 laps to go.

With no further cautions, Bell went on to cruise to a more than 5-second win over Elliott.

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“Same conversation as Road America, unfortunately,” Elliott said, referencing his other runner-up finish in the last four races. “I felt like just a poor run of execution on my end throughout that last run.

“I feel like it took me a while to get past Joey (Logano) and (Kurt Busch) and had to run a little harder than I wanted to and then got in front of those guys and just made a couple mistakes and couldn’t get much breathing room.

“Christopher did a good job. Congrats to those guys. I know they’ve stayed close to winning, so that’s cool. But obviously for us, we were in a position where guys at this level really should close out a race if you’ve got the lead like that. Just poor effort on my part.”

Elliott became the series’ first three-time race winner last weekend with his win at Atlanta and another victory Sunday would help establish him a clear favorite in the championship race with the additional playoff points.

Elliott and his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team are clearly the most consistent contenders for wins right now, but Elliott believes closing the deal is a necessity during this competitive season.

“When you’re in position like we’ve been in, you need to finish them off. The top twos don’t tell the whole story,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to step back and look at the reality of it, and the reality is I’ve given away a couple races just by making too many mistakes.

“You don’t want to have that. Try to clean it up for these final events.”

Asked how as a driver you do that, Elliott said, “Go to work. I don’t know. Everything.”

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