Since entering the NASCAR Cup Series in 2016 as a full-time driver for Hendrick Motorsports, Chase Elliott has never missed the playoffs.
But Elliott’s perfect streak of seven playoff appearances in as many attempts is in serious danger of coming to an abrupt end this year unless he can win one of the remaining 13 races of the regular season.
buried on 28th Overall, after missing six races between Week 2 and Week 3 of the 2023 season to recover from a broken tibia he sustained in a snowboarding accident, Elliott is unlikely to make the playoffs on points. As such, a race win – which automatically advances to the playoffs – appears to be the only option for the 2020 Cup Series champion.
Whether Elliott is up to the task remains to be seen, but the three circuits we’ll be looking at next offer the Hendrick Motorsports driver by far the best chance of making it.
Watkins Glen International
Chase Elliott, a two-time winner at Watkins Glen, clinched the first NASCAR Cup Series win in 2018 in his 99th race at the 2.45-mile street courseth cup start.
Elliott’s second win at the New York circuit came a year later and he has since finished second and fourth in the two races held there.
Last year Elliott clinched his third win at The Glen before being forced off the track when teammate Kyle Larson gave him little leeway on a late restart. Still, Elliott led 29 of 90 laps in his #9 Chevy and appeared to be the driver to beat before Larson executed his aggressive charge, which left Elliott far from pleased and will no doubt be remembered when the Cup Series returns to Watkins Glen in August.
“Watkins Glen was where I got my first win so obviously it’s a place where I have some great memories,” said Elliott. “We had great success there as a team and I feel like we’ve come a long way with the new car in our road circuit programme. I feel like we can really put on a good run at this track.”
Atlanta Motor Speedway
There’s no place like home, is there? Chase Elliott calls Dawsonville, Georgia home — the Atlanta suburb where he grew up and is still a permanent resident.
About an hour and a half up the road from Dawsonville is the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track where Elliott spent countless hours as a child watching his famous father – 1988 Cup Series Champion Bill Elliott – compete at the highest level of the sport fought for NASCAR glory.
It’s no wonder, then, that Chase has a special affinity for AMS, especially after winning the 1.54-mile oval for the first time last July. When the Cup Series returns to his home circuit in July, he’ll get a shot at back-to-back summer victories at AMS — and earn himself a seat in the playoffs if he hasn’t already.
“Moments like racing in Atlanta last July are moments that you wish you could take in and kind of hold,” said Elliott. “Having a day like ours is truly amazing and I’m sure I’ll be very happy to embrace and enjoy it.”
Chase Elliott hits .500 at Nashville Superspeedway, the 1.33-mile concrete track that the NASCAR Cup Series has visited for the past two years.
After being disqualified at race one in Nashville for five loose lug nuts on his car at post-check, Elliott had a much more favorable result last season, crossing the checkered flag just over a half-second ahead of second-place Kurt Busch.
“It’s a cool city,” Elliott said of Nashville, where he led 42 of 300 laps en route to his 2022 victory. “It’s a great place to live. It’s a great place to race. I think it’s a city that welcomes NASCAR and we welcome the people that are there.
“For me, it’s close to home. It’s hard to win anywhere, but when you win so close to home it’s very special.”
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