“Tough Luck” – Rick Hendrick Reviews Start to Chase Elliott’s NASCAR Season, Road Ahead for HMS

Published 03/09/2021, 12:00 PM EST
HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 23: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)


Chase Elliott has been consistently putting on strong performances for quite some time now, which materialized into a Cup Series title win last year. Perhaps that is why a winless start to the season has seen many express their surprise.

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The name of the game for Elliott, then, is to spark a run of good results that includes race victories as well. Speaking in the post-race press conference, team owner Mr. Rick Hendrick has emphasized the fact that the organization as a whole still has ‘work to do’.

He stated, “So when you look through the organization, Chase has had some tough luck. He dominated the road course race. Tough today with the problem they had with the jack.”

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You always want to improve, said the Hendrick Motorsports team owner

“But I think you build momentum slowly in this sport. You can come on red hot, but if you get everybody kind of making a step. We still got work to do.”

Elliott has of course chipped in with decent enough showings that see him occupy the fourth spot in the drivers’ standings. With the cars looking fast enough and scope for improvement always the motto for the premier organization, the No.9 will look to step up to the next level.

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

Mr. Hendrick continued, “We got work to do in the pits. You always want to improve. But we got good speed. The cars are handling well.

“All of these guys, from William to Alex, they’re all getting into another year. With their ages, they’re just going to get better.”

Chase Elliott could get his first win of the season over the next few races

The 2020 Cup Series champion looked absolutely dominant in the road course race at Daytona. Even at Las Vegas, Elliott had a fantastic first stage, which saw him finish only behind Brad Keselowski.

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AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

However, a mixture of bad luck, lesser relative pace, and mistimed pit strategies have plagued Elliott’s efforts over the four rounds now. In that regard, he will want to stage a comeback and secure his first win, possibly even at Phoenix next weekend.

Therefore, Elliott has quite a journey to traverse in the 2021 Cup Series campaign and will still be a prime contender to defend his title. But right now, he just needs things to go his way and would focus on becoming even better than he has been in the races so far.

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MORE – “We’ve All Been Pulling for Him” – Brad Keselowski on Support for Kyle Larson in Comeback NASCAR Season

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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