Chase Elliott is excelling this season, a time when it has been very challenging for any racer to distinguish out, yet he is dissatisfied nonetheless.
Even though Elliott has finished second twice during the last four NASCAR Cup Series races, he is still concerned about Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr., who had been leading for the majority of the race, was surprisingly eliminated from contention by a two-tire pit call on the penultimate pit stop. On Lap 247 of 341 Elliott took advantage, replacing four tyres during his final pit stop.
With 41 circuits remaining, Elliott appeared to be in a good position to win for the fourth time this season, but Christopher Bell, who also changed four tyres on his last pit stop, drove Elliott down and overtook him for the lead.
Bell continued to dominate Elliott, winning by more than five seconds with no additional cautions.
“Same conversation as Road America, unfortunately,” Elliott said, referencing his other runner-up finish in the last four races. “I felt like just a poor run of execution on my end throughout that last run.
“I feel like it took me a while to get past Joey (Logano) and (Kurt Busch) and had to run a little harder than I wanted to and then got in front of those guys and just made a couple mistakes and couldn’t get much breathing room.
“Christopher did a good job. Congrats to those guys. I know they’ve stayed close to winning, so that’s cool. But obviously for us, we were in a position where guys at this level really should close out a race if you’ve got the lead like that. Just poor effort on my part.”
With his triumph in Atlanta previous weekend, Elliott became the first driver in the series to score three consecutive races. With the extra playoff points from a triumph on Sunday, he would become the obvious favourite in the championship race.
Elliott thinks closing the deal is essential throughout this tough season even though his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet squad is now the most reliable winner challenger.
“When you’re in position like we’ve been in, you need to finish them off. The top twos don’t tell the whole story,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to step back and look at the reality of it, and the reality is I’ve given away a couple races just by making too many mistakes.
“You don’t want to have that. Try to clean it up for these final events.”
When questioned how a racer does that, Elliott responded, “Go to work. I’m not sure. Everything.”
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Chase Elliott, Grand Prix, IndyCar, NAPA, Nascar, NASCAR Cup Series, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, XFinity