Elliott’s Strong Playoff Performance Indicative of Team’s Strength

by Joseph Shelton On Mon, Oct. 09, 2017

Photo By: Brad Keppel

While the Round of 12 of this year’s NASCAR Playoffs is in full effect, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are currently at the top of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headlines as usual. However, sitting in fourth in the playoff standings is Chase Elliott, who reeled off yet another runner-up finish at Charlotte on Sunday to score his sixth-career runner-up finish and 19th top-five finish in 71 Cup Series starts.

“It’s been a solid start,” said Elliott. “Obviously we’d like to pick up one spot, but overall just the way we’ve been running since the playoffs started has been refreshing, and definitely makes it a lot of fun to come to the track and know that our car is going to drive pretty good, our pit stops have been really nice, and now is definitely the time of year to do that.  So hopefully we can carry it forward, what, five or six more weeks and see what it’s got to offer.”

Elliott’s runner-up finish in the Bank of America 500 was his ninth top-five and 17th top-10 of 2017, a performance that should have resulted in a win by now; surely a team this strong has what it takes to win, right?

Well, he isn’t entirely at fault for his lack of Cup victories at this point. If anything, he’s got his father’s laid-back demeanor, and although it’s pleasant to see such a young and laid-back driver he ultimately needs to bring some of the aggressiveness that he showed during his 2014 XFINITY Championship campaign. He’s had opportunities come his way only for them to slip past. That’s not to say that he’s not one of the hardest working, strongest drivers on track right now.

As a matter of fact, he has the capability to share the spotlight with Kyle Larson as the top Chevy drivers in the Monster Energy Cup Series, if only he would take the aggression to another level. Still, that very well may be the case during the Playoffs; four races in and he has finished second, 11th, second, and second. He’s been down a similar road before as a rookie and it would be all too easy to become too hyped. But he’s no longer a rookie. He’s got 71 starts on his belt, and he’s properly educated in what it would take to score a win.

He’s got all the right equipment. He’s got the talent and it has shown. He can win and if he keeps up this string of strong runs he will win. It would help if it happens while he’s a Playoff contender. He needs this win to alleviate the pressure he currently has himself under. It’s a conundrum: In order to get rid of the pressure to win, he needs to put the pressure on winning.

Once he does that, one can only wonder how he’ll feel for his crew.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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