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‘Chase Elliott’ Nation Could Rejoice a Long-Awaited Win After a Taste of Podium

Published 04/12/2024, 1:49 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

While William Byron basked in blissful glory after hauling up the grandfather clock trophy in Martinsville, Hendrick fans were enthralled.  Yet there is another reason to be enthralled, as another Hendrick driver came back with a bang. Chase Elliott is undergoing a tediously long winless campaign, but experts believe victory news is peeking around the corner.

Last year the No. 9 Chevrolet driver’s ambitions were cut short due to a snowboarding mishap. It left Elliott re-adjusting himself on race tracks. Now his fans are at the edge of their seats to see their favorite driver swerve into Victory Lane.

Chase Elliott hiking expectations with Martinsville podium

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When Elliott got his first victory at Watkins Glen in 2018, Kurt Busch called him NASCAR’s Tiger Woods. It was a rollercoaster ride from that point, as Elliott picked up wins like cherries from a garden. By 2022, 18 shiny trophies had already been stacked up in his cabinet. But his 18th prize was to be the last for a long time.

Chase Elliott intended to break a leg in the 2023 season but ended up doing so in an accident. A snowboarding mishap left his knee injured, and he missed out on six races. When he did come back, the winner’s charts evaded him, as he managed six top-5s and nine top-10s.

But Chase Elliott is ready to soar into Victory Lane any day now. Fox reporter Josh Sims believes as much after his 3rd place finish in Martinsville. “It looked for a while it was gonna happen this weekend. When he hopped out of the car, the biggest thing you hear from him is, ‘It was fun to be in contention’.” SiriusXM’s Davey Segal also said: “For a lot of that race at Martinsville when he took the lead on the restart and was pulling away, I thought that might be the day”.

Chase Elliott’s peers are pushing him hard. Sims said, “When you see your teammates, Kyle Larson and William Byron going out there dominating, you take that type of stuff personal.” Segal quipped along similar lines: “Given where Hendrick is right now, Larson won already, Byron having won three times already…So I think right now Chase Elliott gotta be feeling pretty solid.”

The expert capped off his analysis on a positive note. “He’s a past champion, he hasn’t forgotten how to win, it’s just about getting back in the rhythm of doing that. And he’s close to doing that again.” And Segal quipped: “Chase Elliott Nation, your boy is getting his performance back, the Mojo is slowly but steadily coming back.”

Chase Elliott has also done his homework, as he claimed at the beginning of this season.

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Elliott is focusing on the right ‘habits’

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When the Next Gen car was unveiled in 2022, Chase Elliott snagged five wins. Yet his average finish and laps led were lower than the previous two years. Then 2023 came and ruined his winning chances. So after going winless for 36 races, Elliott is meticulously working on himself to enter the winners’ list again. In February this year, Elliott analyzed his grey areas.

“It’s always been a fine line of hitting it right, and I think that as you transition to new cars — which mind you this is the first time I’ve gone through a transition like that — so breaking habits and kind of reteaching yourself in some areas to ultimately extract performance is a hard thing to do when you’ve grown to do things a certain way.”

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“We’ve identified some areas that need to be improved upon,” Elliott said. “Step one is identifying it. And then after that, it’s going to work and trying to find solutions.”

With this conscientious approach playing out well, Chase Elliott is bound to notch his 19th victory soon.

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Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee

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Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shreya Singh