Chase Elliott explained Saturday night that lacking the playoffs for the very first time in his Cup Collection vocation is a “bummer,” but it presents a understanding expertise.
“I value everybody’s help by way of this period that has not been what I would want by any means,” Elliott explained soon after ending fourth in the Cup frequent-time finale. “But unquestionably heading to be some classes taken from it, and I assume we’ll be greater for it on the other conclusion.”
Elliott fails to make the playoffs for an eighth consecutive 12 months soon after missing 7 races this season — 6 for harm and one for suspension. This dropped him nicely beneath the playoff cutline as the stop of the regular year approached.
Elliott experienced an opportunity to issue his way into the playoffs, but a crash at Michigan and a gasoline problem at Watkins Glen set him in a ought to-acquire scenario at Daytona.
The 2020 Cup champion did what he could at the superspeedway. He prevented a 16-auto incident at the finish of stage 2, and he place himself on the next row for the get started of time beyond regulation. He just could not cap the evening with a gain due to the teamwork of the RFK Racing motorists.
“I really feel like we experienced an Ok probability there, but Brad (Keselowski) and (winner Chris Buescher) just worked so properly alongside one another there and they were being able to stay locked-on,” Elliott reported following the race. “They were being so locked-on there … they just had a strangle-keep on the leading lane.
“Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get to Kevin (Harvick) and remain there like that, and just make the base lane do the job. I variety of bottled it up there and just couldn’t get adequate momentum heading ahead.”
There are various regions where Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson can make enhancements for following period. They can place a even bigger emphasis on qualifying soon after the No. 9 auto only reached the final round seven instances in his 19 starts off.
They can also carry on to perform on race strategy for highway classes and other tracks exactly where they do not have to fear about pitting in a team. Nailing people tiny facts can make the big difference between contending for a championship and ending the frequent time below the cutline.
Although Elliott missed out on the final playoff place on the driver facet, he even now checked off a intention that was incredibly important to Hendrick Motorsports. He place the No. 9 Chevrolet in the proprietor championship over the No. 23 of 23XI Racing.
Elliott now has an prospect to pursue wins and factors that will shift the No. 9 as a result of the opening rounds of the playoffs. NASCAR pays the period-close purses based mostly on the owner standings, so Elliott can help deliver a bigger payday with a strong postseason run.
“Obviously we arrived up a tiny quick, but however — I detest the way the year has gone, but proud to get the car into the owner’s championship,” Elliott mentioned. “It’s a big offer to get in on the owner’s side, so ideally we’ll test and go make some sound on that entrance, and just continue to keep progressing and pushing to be superior for subsequent yr. We’ll be greater via all of this down the highway.”
Elliott is not the only notable driver to skip the playoffs. Teammate Alex Bowman also missed the reduce soon after an injury sidelined him for a few races. Reigning Rookie of the 12 months Austin Cindric missed the playoffs immediately after winning his way in last period.
Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez, who equally won their way into the playoffs last year, missed the reduce soon after falling into must-gain scenarios through the typical period. They joined AJ Allmendinger, who entered the time as a single of the favorites to make the playoffs thanks to the amount of highway classes on the agenda.