Chase Elliott Explains Why Having No Practice ‘Helps More Than It Hurts’ in NASCAR

Published 02/05/2021, 9:19 AM EST
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – OCTOBER 28: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet, enters his car to start the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


NASCAR had last year announced that the remainder of the 2020 season would go ahead without practice and qualifying sessions. The same will continue in 2021 for most races, and Chase Elliott, for one personally believes that Cup racing has ‘worked out fine’ even without the former.

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The sessions prior to the races ensured drivers could get up to scratch ahead of the main event. However, the 2020 Cup Series champion believes not having practice has not made any difference in the competitive nature of racing.

Speaking to a podcast, Elliott stated, “I don’t have a preference. Personally, the no practice thing I think has worked out fine, I don’t think it’s made a difference as to who runs good and who doesn’t.”

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Everybody was up to speed by the end, says Chase Elliott

“I think it helps with a whole lot more than it hurts, personally. We came to Daytona and road course and didn’t practice and the race was fine.”

Elliott also believes that over time, all the teams’ cars had gained or are nearer to gaining maximum performance. Indeed, that was noticeable in the ending stages of the season during the all-important playoffs.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 13: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands on the grid during the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Elliott continued, “So I think by the end, everybody was up to speed, or at least close to maximizing and being where they need to be. Yeah, I’m on board with that train. I think there’s too many pros to the negatives on the no practice deal.”

The 2021 Daytona 500 will have both practice and qualifying sessions

“But you know, going somewhere new is fine, getting everybody a chance to get going. Get some breaking marks and learn a new facility,” concluded Elliott on the subject.

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)

As announced earlier last month, the 2021 Daytona 500 will be one of eight races with both practice and qualifying sessions.

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Other notable names in the list currently include the intriguing dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Road America, and the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix.

Heading into the Daytona 500, Elliott would be among the frontrunners to claim pole position. It will be interesting to see the drivers’ adaptability, having spent a long duration without practice sessions.

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MORE – Chase Elliott Reveals Why He “Got Humbled Fast” Just Days After His NASCAR Cup Title Win

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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