Chase Elliott Suffers Big Blow to His Title Defensive Hopes

Published 09/06/2021, 12:31 PM EDT
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 15: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, takes part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)


At the Darlington Raceway, Chase Elliott and many of his Playoff rivals endured a nightmare. The Hendrick Motorsports driver had a brief brush with Christopher Bell in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing car. Unfortunately, that brush was enough to hand him a puncture and send him into the outside wall.

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Apparently, Elliott did not notice the puncture, so he was helpless when the car slid into the wall. That spelled the end of his day in the office at Darlington. It was a disappointing venture, considering that he qualified in fourth place, behind Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch.

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Sadly, he had had an up and down race all day, not featuring in the Top 10 in the first stage. Luckily, he improved to eighth place when Stage 2 concluded. Finally, he wound up all the way down in 31st place and pretty much out of the race. Now, Chase Elliott will be hoping that fortune favors him in the next few races.

Chase Elliott was not the only Playoff driver in trouble

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At least he can take comfort in the fact that many of his Cup Series Playoff rivals also encountered trouble at Darlington. The speedway truly earned its nickname, ‘Track Too Tough to Tame’ in this race. First and foremost, Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell became the first victim when he spun and crashed.

May 30, 2021; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Later on, Kyle Busch clipped Austin Dillon and spun into the outside wall. That ended his race, and he limped back to the pits in a towering rage. Elliott’s teammate, William Byron, was the next victim, as he spun due to a puncture.

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Now, the drivers have two more races to avoid the relegation zone. Kicking things off will be the coming weekend’s race at Richmond. A week after that, the paddock heads to Bristol for the final race of the opening round.

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Dhruv George

12029 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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