Chase Elliott Misses Kansas Win but Optimistic About Hitting His Peak in 2021 NASCAR Season: “Step in the Right Direction”

Published 05/03/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 23: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, watches on during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


Chase Elliott came up with another top-5 finish in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. However, the win still eludes him since his championship-winning effort at Phoenix last season.

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On Sunday, though, the reigning Cup champion came quite close to a win. The last few laps of the race were quite chaotic with multiple restarts and the momentum changed quite frequently in those last laps.

Elliott showed decent speed all day and made a good push in the final stage to have a chance to win. Despite still being winless, Elliott is happy with the progress his team is showing.

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“We were solid. We weren’t anything stellar, but definitely a step in the right direction from where we’ve been over the last three or four weeks. Proud of that,” Elliott said after the race.

Apr 25, 2021; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) leads a pack during the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Elliott happy with strategy; highlights hit-or-miss on restarts

The Hendrick Motorsports no. 9 had fresh tires towards the end compared to the frontrunners Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney. That gave him a strong chance to win, but Elliott said those late restarts can be quite unpredictable. He lauded his team’s strategy call for fresh tires.

“Alan (Gustafson, Crew Chief) and our UniFirst team made a good call there to come get tires. I felt like that was the right move. I know it didn’t win the race, but I felt like that was the thing to do,” Elliott said further.

Elliott explained that it is hard to figure out what the drivers in the front rows will do in their respective lanes during the restarts.

Those restarts just get so wild and it’s really hard to predict what lane is going to do what. You just try to make the best choice that you have available at the time and hope it goes your way,” he said.

Elliott hopes to hit his best form soon

Nevertheless, Kansas gave him some very good momentum which he wants to carry on the road ahead. “Proud of the effort and hopefully we can just keep this momentum going forward. Hopefully, we’ll be where we need to be soon,” concluded Elliott on his day.

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Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This coming weekend at Darlington, Elliott will have some extra motivation and support. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver will run a paint scheme honoring former champ Alan Kulwicki for the Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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