Elliott Takes A Great Road Trip In Charlotte

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 12 2020

Chase Elliott celebrates his victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway by putting on a smoke show. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – When it comes to road course racing in NASCAR’s Cup Series, Chase Elliott definitely possesses the Midas touch. 

The 24-year-old driver’s second consecutive victory in Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway tied Jeff Gordon’s record of four straight road course wins. Elliott’s consecutive road course victories include two wins at Charlotte, one at Watkins Glen last year and this season on the Daytona Road Course.  

 “He’s light-years ahead of everyone,” runner-up Joey Logano said about Elliott’s prowess on the road courses. “They are the best at road course racing right now by a lot. Their road course stuff with Chase and Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) … are light-years ahead of us. I hate to say we’ll take second and be happy with second, but no one was going to beat that 9 (Elliott) car today.”

Elliott’s lone moment that could have derailed his victory effort occurred at the beginning of the final stage when he pitted on lap 54 for a loose lug nut on his left-front wheel. That left him rejoining the race at the rear of the field. However, when the sixth of nine caution flags waved a dozen laps later he had already made it back to eighth. After that brief stumble, nothing impeded Elliott’s flawless execution for the rest of the event. He tied Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron for top lap leader honors with each driver setting the pace for 27 laps on the 2.28-mile road course. Elliott led the final 18 laps, taking the lead for good on lap 92 of the 109-lap race when he passed Erik Jones.

 “I thought our car was better than it was here last year,” Elliott said after collecting his ninth career victory. “I thought I was better than I was last year. We definitely don’t show up just expecting to be good. We show up trying to be better than we were last time. I thought we did that today.”

 Elliott is extremely smooth in his execution of the road courses and he points to numerous contributing factors.

 “I remember going to Bondurant … as a kid, driving Corvettes,” Elliott said. “I remember going to Spring Mountain and spending a lot of time with Ron Fellows. Boris Said is a friend. I feel like dad (Bill Elliott) was a really good road racer, too. I feel like there’s small things that he’s talked about over the years that have helped me.

“I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to be around some guys who have really good knowledge. If you can just pick things from everybody, try to take small little tidbits there, put it into one effort, I think it’s helpful. I have been fortunate to have some good people to look up to.”  

While Elliott joined Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin as those advancing to the Round of 8 with playoff victories, five other drivers moved on via points. They were Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman. 

Drivers eliminated from the playoffs in the race were defending series champion Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola. Bowyer led twice for nine laps, but when the power steering failed in his Ford with 45 laps remaining his title hopes ended. He was taken to the infield care center after the race where he was evaluated and released. After Bowyer’s release, he tweeted: “I’m good. Was definitely outta gas!! Another couple three laps and I’d have been on the ground after race crappie floppin’ Self inflicted, I shouldn’t have knocked the Power Steering out.”

The series now moves to Kansas. 


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 12 2020
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