Chase Elliott: "Don't even ask" about potential retaliation to Hamlin

Could there possibly be a silver lining to the opportunity Chase Elliott lost last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to advance to the Championship 4?

Chase Elliott: "Don't even ask" about potential retaliation to Hamlin
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, crash
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, crash
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

If there is, it can be found in his performance during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Elliott was leading at Martinsville with two laps remaining when he was wrecked by Denny Hamlin, losing his shot at his first career victory and the chance to compete for the series championship that came with it.

But all is not lost for the second-year Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Since the playoffs began at Chicagoland Speedway, Elliott has finished second three times and has led almost as many laps (341) in those seven races as he did all of last season (358).

So, while the outcome of last Sunday’s race may still burn, Elliott has two more chances to win his way into the title race with a team that has been one of the top performing in the playoffs.

“I think that the way we have run is very encouraging. I think for us to come down pit road leading the race last week, and leave pit road leading the race was huge, too. All those pieces have to be there,” Elliott said.

“I see no reason we can’t continue to have the performance we’ve had over the course of the first handful of races in the playoffs. It has been a lot of fun to run like we’ve been running over these past number of weeks. It is refreshing for me. It is refreshing for our team.”

Needless to say the incident still weighs on Elliott’s mind, but he remains adamant that his focus needs to remain on what is still possible this season.

No comment on payback questions

He quickly cut off questions about possible retaliation against Hamlin during his media availability Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

“No, I am not going to answer your questions about whether I am going to get him back or not,” Elliott said. “Don’t even ask because you are not going to hear it from me. Just don’t go there.”

Elliott said he is not dwelling on the past.

“I’m not overwhelming myself with him or any other driver in particular as the weekend goes along. I don’t think you can do that and look yourself in the eye and think you have a fair shot if you have that mindset coming into the weekend,” he said.

“So, we are going to go about our business like we always do and hope that we make the right guesses, that I make the right judgement calls, and that (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and the team makes the right calls throughout the weekend to have a chance to win.”

It is for his team, Elliott said, that he most wants to capitalize on the fast race cars that has put him in this position this season.

“I want to deliver them the things they deserve. We have been working with a lot of these guys … I love working with those guys. They have busted their tails for me for almost two years now,” he said.

“I would love to repay them with a trophy sometime. There is no team that deserves that more than them.”

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