The chips were lining up for Chase Elliott to have a dominating Round of 12. Elliott, had just won the final race of the first round on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and was heading to three very good tracks for him. Among the second round tracks, Elliott was the defending race winner on two of them (Dover, Kansas) and won the spring race (Talladega) on the other one.
But, his engine went sour just seven laps into last Sunday’s race at Dover which cost him his worst finish in eight career starts on the high banked Delaware race track. Now, he’s in a seven point hole heading into the penultimate race of the second round at Talladega.
TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 28: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet, leads the field during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Luckily for Elliott, he and Chevrolet dominated the spring race on the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Elliott, won while his teammate Alex Bowman finished second in late April. In fact, the bowties crossed the finish line 1-2-3-5-6.
He’ll need that type of performance to avoid being eliminated in this round next Sunday. In fact, Elliott is embracing the pressure over the next two weeks. He thinks it’s a good test for Homestead.
“I assume we’ll have to win one of these next few weeks,” Elliott said of his situation right now. “If you ever make it to Homestead, you’re going to have to win down there. I guess it’s a good opportunity to practice here these next few weeks.”
No one has swept both Cup races at Talladega in the same season though since Jeff Gordon in 2007. Dale Earnhardt Jr. did so in 2002 as well. Only three times has it happened since 1990 too.
The numbers aren’t on Elliott’s side for a repeat in his No. 9 Chevrolet. He’s struggled in his three Fall race starts at Talladega with finishes of 12th, 16th and 31st respectively. That could make Kansas a must win. Luckily for Elliott, he has three top four finishes in his last four Kansas starts.