Chase Elliott Dealt a Massive Blow Ahead of NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway

Published 11/08/2020, 1:33 PM EST
LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – AUGUST 02: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, exits his car after the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott got an up-close and personal encounter with Murphy’s Law. The law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. To be precise, the #9 driver’s Chevy failed pre-race inspection twice and will be sent to the back of the grid. Considering that he is contending for the 2020 Cup Series title, this throws a life-sized spanner in the works.

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What makes matters worse is the fact that Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski all passed. Apparently, all four cars were thoroughly checked at least twice, and Elliott’s car failed both times. As per standard protocol, the #9 car will start the arduous task of climbing up the order.

Joey Logano is through tech as is Keselowski and Hamlin. Just waiting for word on Elliott on his second time through.#HotPass | @NASCARonFOX pic.twitter.com/bxmTzff4YZ

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) November 8, 2020

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In the meantime, Logano will inherit pole position, with Keselowski and Hamlin starting 2nd and 3rd, respectively. This also means that all other drivers will move up a place, with Ryan Blaney taking 4th place.

Alex Bowman moves up to 5th, the Busch brothers slot into 6th and 7th, with Kurt ahead of Kyle. Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, and Kevin Harvick round out the Top-10.

What does this mean for Chase Elliott and the others?

As if it wasn’t obvious enough, the relegation to the back of the grid puts the HMS driver’s championship hopes in jeopardy. Chase Elliott has it all to do ahead of him, and his only hope is that he has a clean race and reaches the front quickly.

Oct 18, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) races during the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

However, this hardly means that Hamlin, Keselowski, and Logano can rest easy, as they are battling each other. One would also think that Denny Hamlin could be hugely vulnerable, as he is literally surrounded by Penske cars.

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To be precise, Keselowski and Logano are Penske teammates, along with the 4th-placed Ryan Blaney. Hamlin’s nearest teammate is Kyle Busch, who has his older brother, Bowman, and Blaney, between himself and Hamlin.

However, it is worth noting that Blaney could also have a personal conundrum. This is because he has to figure out which teammate to help, as Keselowski and Logano will not play the team game with each other.

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Dhruv George

11310 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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