Chase Elliott pulled off one of the most dramatic Playoff-extending performances of the season on Sunday in Kansas, racing to a runner-up finish to Denny Hamlin, which along with some poor luck from fellow contender Brad Keselowski, propelled him forward in the championship hunt. In the round prior, Elliott won the race on the ROVAL to advance to the second round. Now, what if he can have a less stressful final race of a round in two weeks at Phoenix and win Sunday’s race instead in Martinsville.
As the standings are reset to reflect bonus points, Elliott vaults from just earning a spot among the Top eight (three points over Keselowski) to now being ranked sixth among the eight drivers. And Elliott has reason to be optimistic about optimizing his chances.
Elliott has four top-10 finishes in eight Martinsville Speedway races, including a pair of top-five runs. His best showing came this March when he was runner-up to race winner Brad Keselowski and led 49 laps on the evening.
He’s finished in the top 10 in the last three races at The Paperclip. And just for good measure, he does own a Martinsville trophy. He won the 2017 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race from the pole position, leading a race-best 92-of-250 laps.
This season, on tracks less than one mile in length, Elliott has a pair of top-five finishes (runner-up at Martinsville in March and fifth at Bristol, Tenn. in September.). He’s finished 15th or better in all five previous short track races and won the pole position for the April Bristol race.