By: Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @toby_christie
Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher and Ryan Blaney. These are all drivers who have recorded their first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup victories since Chase Elliott began his Cup Series career in 2016. Yet Elliott, one of the best pure talents the sport has seen in a long time remains winless.
Last week, in the Daytona 500 the 22-year old driver looked to be in position to secure his first win on the largest of stages as he had just moved to second. Then Elliott made an admitted mistake which led to contact with Blaney and Brad Keselowski that sent Elliott spinning out of control and hard into the wall on lap 101.
The 33rd-place finish marked the latest in a long line of disappointing days for the racer.
“I hate it,” a dejected Elliott said after climbing from the wreckage. “I just wanted to make it to the end and give ourselves a chance, so I hate that we didn’t have that opportunity.”
Although Elliott was hard on himself (as he always tends to be) after Daytona, those kind of things happen at restrictor plate tracks. Elliott now moves on to the first real race of the 2018 season, the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Dawsonville, Georgia native has the best average finish (6.5) of any driver in the garage at his hometown track, which is located in Hampton. Elliott finished eighth here in his rookie season and he came home fifth a year ago.
Elliott also recorded fifth place finishes in both of his starts at this track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
After seven-career second place finishes, it just feels the time is right, and that the planets have aligned for Chase Elliott to get his first win in this weekend’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
And if he does roll into victory lane can you imagine how loud the sirens will sound at the Dawsonville Pool Room?
Photo by: Tom Copeland for Chevy Racing