NASCAR Champ Chase Elliott Expresses Huge Disappointment After Debut Stint in Rolex 24 at Daytona

Published 01/31/2021, 3:40 AM EST
Daytona Beach, FL, USA; IMSA Series driving team of Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway, Pipo Derani and Chase Elliott (31) during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Chase Elliott finally made his much-awaited debut in the iconic Rolex 24 at Daytona, early in the 24-hour race on Saturday evening. The reigning NASCAR champion is competing against some of the best and most experienced drivers in the world in a highly challenging event, but that does not stop him from setting very high expectations from himself.

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Elliott was highly disappointed with himself after his opening stint, terming it as ‘terrible.’ He took over in the Action Express Racing No. 31 Cadillac from pole-sitter Felipe Nasr and the car was already at the back of the field in the division when Elliott took over.

However, Elliott expected a lot more of himself as he wanted to put his team in a strong position, more than anything.

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“I put these guys way, way, way, way, way, way too far behind.

“Hopefully, Mike can make up some ground, and Pipo (Derani) after him. We’ll just try to keep pushing. Obviously, a long way to go, but I hate to put them in a big box like that,” Elliott said to the media right after his stint.

Jan 30, 2021; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; IMSA Series driving team of Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway, Pipo Derani and Chase Elliott (31) during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Elliott struggled to find his pace in his Rolex 24 debut stint

The 25-year-old said that he hit his car on the curb in the initial stage of his stint and was worried about damaging the car as well. Additionally, he felt he considerably lacked speed and could not ‘find a rhythm,’ after he did quite well in the final practice before the main race.

I need to step up for these guys this next go around. I was really worried that I damaged the underneath (of the car). So the next caution, we definitely need to get a look at that. Definitely can’t be doing stuff like that, bottom line,Elliott added.

Jan 30, 2021; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; IMSA driver Chase Elliott talks with Fox Sports announcer Jeff Gordon before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his assessment, the NASCAR champ was quite competitive

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While Elliott was unhappy given the standards he had set for himself, the statistics showed that the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR star did not do a bad job. Elliott produced consistent lap times of around 1-minute, 37-seconds. He matched the other drivers in the DPi class more often than not.

Taking a further look at his run, Elliott seemed competitive against his competitors. Those other drivers are much more experienced than Elliott in such races.

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Every driver typically gets at least three or four chances during the 24-hour race. Elliott will have his chance at redemption and he will be quite motivated to make an impressive run, getting his team back on top.

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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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