Chase Elliott was running among the top 10 when Martin Truex Jr. failed to launch on a late-race restart. The No. 78’s transmission failed, but the dented fender on the No. 24 was the real danger when it cut a tire and sent Elliott into the wall a few laps later.
Chase Elliott would almost certainly have won his first NASCAR Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 to become the first driver in history to win his inaugural trophy at this track. In the shade of the checkers, a final caution waved, causing most of the field to pit. Elliott restarted fifth—on the inside of the third row—and was able to climb to only third at the checkers.
Chase Elliott is one of the drivers who must wish NASCAR had gotten qualification underway. All three of his fastest in laps in the three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 practices at Chicagoland Speedway were better than his 14th-place roster position.
Ultimately, Chase Elliott needed to only finish the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway to secure his position in the Chase, but with teammate Kasey Kahne challenging to move the playoff cutline, the rookie had some anxious moments Saturday night. He overcame crash damage and mistakes in the pits to barely crack the top 20 in 19th.
Chase Elliott failed to advance out of the first qualification session for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. His lap of 121.775 mph was good enough for only 34th on the grid.
Chase Elliott entered the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway with six consecutive top-10s and had as much momentum as anyone in the field. His next eight races were all outside that mark, however, and his season seemed to be slipping away. He finished 10th in the Bojangles' Southern 500, however, which was his second consecutive top-10.
After eight consecutive races without a top-10—which was the longest of his brief, 29-race career—Chase Elliott challenged for the victory at Michigan International Speedway last week. He struggled at Darlington Raceway in 2015, however, so the Bojangles' Southern 500 is going to be a test of his resolve and whether his momentum has shifted to the positive.
Chase Elliott spun his tires on a late-race restart this June in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He spun his tires on the final restart again this week and finished second for the second time in two starts on this track.
Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott both had top-seven times in the first practice session at Michigan International Speedway. Elliott qualified fifth; Blaney will start seventh. And notably, they had the second (Blaney) and third (Elliott) fastest laps in Saturday morning’s session. Blaney posted a lap of 201.427 mph; Elliott went 201.196 mph.
Chase Elliott posted a lap of 201.303 mph to qualify fifth. Ryan Blaney had a lap of 201.202 mph and will start the Pure Michigan 400 seventh.
Ryan Blaney posted a lap of 200.775 mph to become the fastest rookie in first practice for the Pure Michigan 400; that put him fourth on the speed chart. Chase Elliott was seventh fastest overall at Michigan International Speedway and second among the freshmen with a speed of 200.585 mph.
Chase Elliott had one of the best cars in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he sustained considerable damage in the lap-372 incident that ruined the day of several top contenders and dropped to 15th in the standings. Kurt Busch spun from the lead and collected many top-10 challengers in that incident.
Bristol Motor Speedway in not a track traditionally kind to rookies, but someone forgot to tell Chase Elliott. He finished fourth after qualifying 19th this spring in his first outing on this track.
It remains to be seen, but Watkins Glen International might prove to be a pivotal race for Chase Elliott. With a respectable 13th-place run, and given the fact that another unique winner did not emerge from that race, he has only four more regular season races to survive in order to qualify for the 2016 Chase for the Championship.