First win continues to elude Elliott, scoring sixth runner-up finish
Chase Elliott scored his sixth second-place finish of his career on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is second consecutive runner-up finish.
But if history repeats itself with the Elliott family, Chase will have to finish second twice more before breaking through to Victory Lane. His father, Bill Elliott finished second eight times in 115 races before scoring his first win in his 116th start.
After leading 138 laps last week at Dover before Kyle Busch passed Elliott for the lead coming to the white flag lap, second a Charlotte wasn’t much of a consolation prize.
“Definitely doesn't make last week any better by any means, but the way we've run over the past two weeks is definitely refreshing,” Elliott said. “You hope that we can keep running like we are, and like I said a minute ago, if we can, then opportunities will definitely be there.
“If we capitalize on them, hopefully we'll have our day.”
Elliott started seventh but ran in the top-10 all race long. While others playoff contenders had issues throughout the race, the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team performed solidly throughout most of the afternoon. Even when Elliott restarted sixth in the second stage, he quickly climbed back into the top five.
“We needed to be a little better I think in the middle stage and not lose so much track position,” said Elliott, who started the race seventh. “That was where Martin (Truex, Jr.) came on and got his track position and we lost ours and it was just hard to get all of it back there toward the end.
“It was a hard-fought day and really, from where we were in those middle stages, I was proud of the way we fought back and were able to get back to the front. It’s frustrating to run like this. We’re definitely tired of running second. But, if we keep running like we are, hopefully the opportunities will be there.”
Still, Elliott ran in the top-five most of the race. He also finished second in the first two stages and collected 53 points for his effort — more than race winner Truex. Although he entered Charlotte four points out of eighth-place — the final driver to transfer into the third round — Elliott now sits fourth in the standings, 47 points behind Truex and 16 points ahead of ninth-place Matt Kenseth.
With two races remaining in the round, Elliott’s not backing down.
“Well, you need all you can get,” Elliott said. “We’ve just got to run like we were running today and if we keep doing that, it will figure itself out and that’s all you can ask for. So, we’re going to fight and go grab as much as we can and see what it’s got to offer.
“Obviously we'd like to pick up one spot, but overall just the way we've been running since the playoffs started has been refreshing, and definitely makes it a lot of fun to come to the track and know that our car is going to drive pretty good, our pit stops have been really nice, and now is definitely the time of year to do that. So hopefully we can carry it forward, what, five or six more weeks and see what it's got to offer.”
The tour returns to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend where Elliott has three starts, finished fifth in his debut and has led 36 laps. He’s has a remarkable qualifying average of 4.3.
“I enjoy going to Talladega,” Elliott said despite wrecking and finishing 30th in the spring. “I tried to create lift last time, so I’d like to keep all four on the ground and just keep it rolling there at the end and we’ll put up a good fight.”
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