AVONDALE, Ariz. – Chase Elliott knew what he had to do Sunday at ISM Raceway.
In order to advance to the Championship 4 next week, he had to find Victory Lane this week.
His weekend got off to a strong start as he qualified sixth, and he continued to move forward on Sunday. He finished Stage 1 in second and took the green-checkered flag at the end of Stage 2 in third.
But a flat tire early in the final segment, while he was running inside the top five, sent Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA AutoCare Center Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 spinning into the wall.
The resulting damage cut his day short and put an end to his quest to compete for a title at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We had a decent NAPA Chevy today,” Elliott said. “I felt like we were in a good position, running solid.”
Unfortunately, he noted, it felt like a “continuation of our first two weeks” in the Round of 8.
An axle issue at Martinsville and damage following contact with the wall early in the race resulted in finishes of 36th and 32nd to start the round. Sunday’s 39th-place result at ISM Raceway meant he finished the round eighth in the playoff standings.
“I thought we were racing hard, and you never want to have a round go like that,” Elliott said. “These last three weeks have been pretty rough.”
But the No. 9 team knows it still has one week left to close the 2019 campaign on a high note.
“Hopefully Homestead goes better,” the driver said, “and we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next year.”