The 2021 Daytona Road Course (RC) race in the Cup Series is nearly upon us. Drivers like Michael McDowell and Chase Elliott are still recuperating from the exhausting Daytona 500 race, but there is no time to rest.
One reason why Elliott would be keenly looking forward to this Sunday’s clash is because it is a road course race. If there is anything we know about the Hendrick Motorsports No.9’s recent record in that category, it is that he absolutely relishes them.
Talking from his own experiences, Elliott recently explained in an interview what makes him tick at road course races. A mix of factors involved in the conversation, the 25-year-old believes that having a fast car naturally counts for a lot.
“I think the toughest thing at those places are how do you score stage points and still keep yourself in position to win. If you’re good enough to win, obviously number one.”
Considering Stages 1 and 2 factor in at Laps 16 and 34 in the 70-lap race respectively, drivers have to be at their absolute best to seize track positions. Add in the tricky nature of the circuit, and they will face difficulty in building pace to pull away from the rest of the pack.
Elliott continued, “But scoring stage points is tough because a lot of the times you kind of pit road course backwards when you get your fuel window. A lot of guys will come in and try to make that last stop and get that over with, so that they can jump people on the racetrack.”
“Playing those cards properly is important, but number 1 is having a fast car, and executing your day well enough to have the pace to win. And if you can do that then obviously, your options become greater.”
Such has been his dominance that of the last seven road course clashes, he has emerged as the victor on five occasions. One might recall the days of Jeff Gordon’s brilliance at such tracks, and now Elliott is edging closer to that milestone.
But while the experts will pick him as the favorite, he will know that much work is left to be done. Given the 2020 Cup champ’s track record, though, we may just witness another classic Elliott road course victory.