By: Ashley McCubbin
After a frustrating second half at Texas Motor Speedway, there’s only one thing on Chase Elliott’s mind entering the final race in this round of the playoffs – winning at Martinsville Speedway.
“We really just need to go and try and win; that needs to be our mindset,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Really, that’s always your mindset. I don’t think you really need dwell or look at the points, but I’m sure we’re in a bad spot and it kind of is what it is.”
Elliott had started the day off at Texas Motor Speedway solidly, running inside the top-10 through the first stage. However during green flag pit stops in the second stage, he was forced to come down pit road a second time following a fuel only stop due to a tire coming apart.
“There’s really not anything that we can do about it now,” he commented. “You see guys make aggressive strategy calls and take advantage of it and get points. We were just trying to do that and get an extra point or two, which I personally think was good and I think it was a good play.
“I just didn’t realize the tire was coming apart and never really had any sensation it was and left pit road there, and it was coming apart coming up to speed going down the back straightaway. Could’ve been worse again, but I don’t know what you do about that. You can’t be too conservative this point of the year with where we were in points.”
Stuck a lap down, Elliott crossed the finish line in the 20th position. Now combined with a sixth at Kansas Speedway, he will enter Martinsville Speedway sitting 25 points below the cut-off line for the Championship 4.
“I’m not going to look at the points as it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “If you can’t win and be up front in this series consistently, than you’re not going to win a championship anyway. You need to go there with the mindset of trying to win and be comfortable in it and try to make it happen.”
Elliott has ran well at Martinsville Speedway, leading 123 laps in 2017 and pacing the field in the late stages before being spun by Denny Hamlin. In total, he has scored three top-five’s and five top-10’s in 10 events at the paperclip.
“I don’t think we have to hit a home run to win Sunday,” he commented. “I think if we just do our thing and improve from the last few Martinsville trips and try and improve upon it, I think we can contend for a race win. There’s still one race left, it’s certainly not over, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Categories: NASCAR Cup Series