“Everyone Is in the Exact Same Boat” – Chase Elliott on Challenges at Richmond Ahead of NASCAR Cup Race

Published 04/16/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
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


Chase Elliott is yet to find some consistent form and momentum in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Through the opening eight races of the season, Elliott has just three top-5 finishes, and his best result was a runner-up finish last weekend at Martinsville.

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The start to his season isn’t the best by the standards Elliott has set for himself with the championship win last year. With his best finish so far coming in the previous race, Elliott would like to keep up the momentum and find that win soon with the playoff picture in mind.

To do that, Elliott will need to conquer a track that hasn’t been his best, this Sunday. The 25-year-old has made 10 Cup Series starts so far at Richmond, with three top-5s. Additionally, he has only led a total of 36 laps in all those races.

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Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) races for position against driver Brad Keselowski (2) and driver Ryan Blaney (12) during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Elliott explains why Richmond is a difficult track to ace

So what makes Richmond so difficult to conquer for the Hendrick Motorsports superstar? “What makes it really hard there is to just be different. Everyone is doing the exact same thing,” Elliott said recently in an interview. Along with that, Elliott feels that the car cannot give him any trouble if he is to win at a track like Richmond Raceway.

Obviously, you have to have your car balance really good there and it has to be perfect. You’re riding that really razor-thin edge much like you do at Martinsville,” he continued.

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, at Martinsville, drivers can approach the race in different manners and with different tactics. Elliott feels everyone is ‘in the same boat’ at Richmond, and they cannot really afford to try different things. That makes it very challenging unless a driver does not have the best car on the day.

“…Martinsville is different, where guys really attack that race track differently. Whereas at Richmond, I feel like everyone is just in the exact same boat and it’s hard to be different. I think that’s what makes that place tough,” the no. 9 Hendrick car driver explained.

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Elliott has improved at Richmond in recent years

While Elliott just has three top-5 finishes in 10 races at Richmond, all of those top-5 runs came in the last five races there. That shows his improvement at the track.

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With his Hendrick car, Elliott is always in contention. As the pressure of the playoff spots keeps building, Elliott will leave it all on the track this Sunday at Richmond and go ahead.

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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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