How the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Battle Shapes up after Chase Elliott Wins at Martinsville

Published 11/02/2020, 7:57 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Following the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway, Chase Elliott got to take home the grandfather clock trophy. As a welcome bonus, he guaranteed his berth in the final 4. In addition to that, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski did enough to secure their slots as well.

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Of course, with four happy drivers making into the final 4, there will be four disappointed ones. Chief among them was Kevin Harvick, who failed to go through, despite notching up 9 wins in the season. Also joining him in the elimination zone are Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr, and Kurt Busch.

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With Martinsville done and dusted, Chase Elliott, Keselowski, and Hamlin will face off against Logano next weekend at Phoenix. This a battle between two Team Penske drivers against Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing and Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teams. It is worth noting that Elliot is the first HMS driver to reach the finale since Jimmie Johnson in 2016.

Elliott, Hamlin, Keselowski, and Logano prepare for the NASCAR Cup Series showdown

Hamlin confessed that he rued the lost opportunity to duel with Harvick. The latter was the only one who was able to match him in the win tally counter with nine to a Hamlin’s seven.

USA Today via Reuters

“I feel bad for Kevin,” Hamlin said.

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“They probably deserve a little better than that. It’s just the format, I guess. Three races and everything you can do for eight innings doesn’t matter if you don’t have a great ninth inning. It’s tough to see,” he added.

Chase Elliott managed to squeak through after successfully completing a must-win situation. It was about time that he got in, considering that he missed out on three previous occasions. In addition to that, the #9 driver got his own grandfather clock trophy, something that his father Bill Elliott couldn’t achieve in 45 attempts.

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Admittedly, he did sweat a little after back-to-back bad pit stops. This included one that nearly handed him a penalty because his jackman entered the service stall too early. Fortunately, the alert crew member ran back to the pit wall and touched it to re-establish his position, leading NASCAR to make a no-call on the slip.

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Written by:

Dhruv George

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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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