Where Did NASCAR Champ Chase Elliott Lose His Momentum to Finish 13th in Cup Race at Las Vegas?

Published 03/08/2021, 1:00 PM EST
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


Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott did not have an enjoyable evening at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile long speedway definitely favored him and his No.9 Chevrolet Camaro. But, despite his best effort, it just did not happen for him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

From a competitive standpoint, Elliott looked quite racy in the first stage’s initial laps that saw pure Hendrick Motorsports domination. Teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron had edged the rest of the field to largely stay in first and second, with Elliott also charging down the outside line in third.

But while eventually Larson won the race and Byron secured 8th, a number of factors prevented Elliott from really rounding out his performance on Sunday. Rest assured, he will have been disappointed that a Top 10 finish was something he could not close the race with.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Chase Elliott had started the race in 8th place

Starting on the fourth row alongside Kurt Busch, the No.9 got a good getaway, avoiding any kind of contact on the first lap. In fact, in a matter of 10 laps, Elliott was all the way up into second.

He even ended Stage 1 in second after a brief tussle with Brad Keselowski for the lead. But it was between stage breaks that repairs to damage on the right side, saw him restart the race back in 29th.

Even after that, Elliott had made up good ground to stay in tenth. But having gotten some under-steer, the 2020 Cup champion suffered damage to his front bumper. This unfortunately saw him pit once again and lose out on valuable track positions.

Elliott would quickly want to shift his focus on the next few races

Although 13th was not a desirable result for him by any means, Elliott certainly displayed incredible resilience. Despite falling behind twice to pit for repairs, he ensured he did not stick around in the bottom half.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 17: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It is that kind of positivity that Elliott will now need in the races to come ahead. The next event at Phoenix will certainly bring back some fond memories, considering that was the location of his first Cup title win.

Therefore, all is most definitely not lost for Elliott, who still sits in the Top 5 of the drivers’ standings. A race victory is what the 25-year-old now needs, and given his ability, that might just be round the corner.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

MORE – “Work Ethic is Incredible” – NASCAR Great Jimmie Johnson Earns High Praise From IndyCar Legend Dario Franchitti

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT