Chase Elliott had 475 miles at Texas to focus on must-win NASCAR race at Phoenix



Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

November 08, 2019 06:13 PM

Chase Elliott had 475 miles at Texas to focus on must-win NASCAR race at Phoenix

The sport’s most popular driver can only win his way into the championship race

Matt Weaver



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Motorsport Images – LAT

Chase Elliott faces a must-win scenario on Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

Chase Elliott had nearly 500 miles to ruminate over how he got to this point.
Upon crashing last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Elliott enters the penultimate race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season 78 points out of the Championship 4, essentially placing him in a must-win scenario to remain championship eligible following Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
He called the incident a self-inflicted wound and said he eventually got over it and ready to focus on Phoenix during the closing laps of Texas.
“It sure takes talent to end up 80 points back in two weeks, but we’ve gotten there,” Elliott deadpanned during an interview prior to the weekend at Phoenix.
Elliott snuck into the Round of 8 by capitalizing on a series of timely cautions in the Round of 12 finale last month at Kansas but suffered a series of Murphy’s Law type cataclysms in the following round. A broken axle eliminated the No. 9 from contention at Martinsville and a mistake resulted in a crash in turn two at Texas.
He drifted up out of the racing groove and the lack of grip sent him into the wall.
“I had 475 miles to think about it last week,” Elliott said. “So, I deserved that really, to ride around for 475 miles and think about it. By I would say mile 400 of that, I was pretty much over it and I was really just thinking about Phoenix.
“During the race last week, I was thinking about Phoenix and thinking about what we struggled with here in the spring, and cruising around and just thinking about what we can do to be better.”
Prior to his breakout three-win 2018, Elliott was known for “beating himself up” for his near-misses, be it races he didn’t win, or championship races he just missed out on. Elliott says despite adding another three wins this year and becoming one of the top drivers on the tour, he still holds himself to the same standards.
“I still look at last week,” Elliott said. “Just like I said last week and just like I said today, doing something that dumb, there’s really no excuse for it. Crashing by yourself, ruining your day and putting yourself in the worse points position is never an excusable act from a race car driver’s standpoint.
So, I don’t think it was ever that I wasn’t able to put it behind me.”
But Elliott says his team has been good about compartmentalizing. No one has criticized him for what happened at Texas and no one is critical when there is a mechanical failure. Everyone at Hendrick has high standards glued together by self-sustainability.
Elliott will just try his best to win on Sunday, because that’s all he can do.
“We’ll either run good this weekend or we don’t,” he said. “If we do, we have a chance next week. If we don’t, we’ll go to Homestead and try to build a notebook for hopefully an opportunity down the road.”

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