By: Toby Christie, Editor – Follow on twitter @toby_christie
FORT WORTH, Texas — It’s been a whirlwind week for Chase Elliott.
Last Sunday, it looked like the 21-year-old driver would capture his first win, as he was leading with a few laps to go at Martinsville Speedway. Then, Elliott was spun out of the lead and into the wall after a super aggressive move by Denny Hamlin.
While the crowd cheered in support of Elliott and rained boos down on Hamlin, Elliott took the high road and refused to say anything negative about his competitor.
Friday in his media availability Elliott continued to keep his head down when questions of retaliation were raised.
“I am still pretty frustrated about it and you know, as long as the week has gone along it has given me a lot of time to think about how close we were to going to Homestead,” Elliott admitted. “I think if anything else that will drive you up the wall more if you think about it. Definitely not happy about it and I don’t think a whole lot has changed. But no, I am not going to answer your questions about whether I am going to get him back or not. Don’t even ask because you are not going to hear it from me. Just don’t go there.”
Elliott, who has been super consistent all season long, believes he can still work his way back into the final round of the Playoffs by way of points. With the new Stage format, he’s absolutely correct. Stage winners receive 10 extra points in the championship standings, so there is plenty of room to work his way up over the next two races.
“For us, we are in a position where we are not completely out from points,” Explained Elliott. “You could have some really solid weeks and get stage points and those guys don’t and potentially get yourself back in it without winning. It’s going to be really hard to do and I think you are going to have to be in contention to winning these next two weeks, if not, winning an event. You have to see how this weekend goes to know how next weekend has to be.”
Another silver lining for Elliott and his growing fan base, is the fact that he’s been stellar at Texas Motor Speedway.
In addition to winning his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track, Elliott has three top-10 finishes in three Cup series starts in Fort Worth, and he has a Series-best 6.0 average finish.
Elliott, who placed sixth in the opening practice session of the weekend, also likes his No. 24 Chevrolet SS for this race.
“This place is certainly different now with the repave but we feel pretty good about it and feel good about our car. I think we are at a place where if we just can put together a solid weekend we can try and give ourselves a chance to win which is pretty important for us at this point. We’ll see.”
Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images