CONCORD, N.C. – There are three races left in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, and Chase Elliott is ready to each challenge that will be thrown his way.
The 2020 Cup Series champion is in the hunt to win his second title in a row and is a mere eight points below the playoff bubble heading into this weekend’s Round of 8 race at Kansas Speedway. It’s a track that has served Elliott well – he won there in October 2018 and has finished outside of the top 10 at Kansas just once in the last six races there.
“We weren’t spectacular in the spring race but it’s certainly something we can build off of and (it’s) a track I feel confident we can go and be good at,” Elliott said. “Hopefully, we make the right choices this week.”
Elliott finished fifth at Kansas in May and ran in the top 10 for the majority of the race. It’s the fifth top-five result Elliott has earned at the track, which also includes his win and a runner-up finish. He will look at Kansas as the perfect opportunity to rebound from a tough race at Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday where Elliott overcame starting from the rear and a front-tire issue to finish seventh. The impressive comeback has kept Elliott’s playoff presence strong.
“We took some really big swings and got ourselves decent, I would say,” Elliott explained. “I’m not sure we were anything special, but certainly better than what we were in the mid stage of the race. (We) had some things go our way, was able to stay out on the lead lap through our tire problem and have a couple of ok restarts to get back into the top 10 there at the end.”
Even though last week’s outing at Texas didn’t go the way Elliott wanted, he’s in a similar situation that he was last season. Elliott has a little extra experience on his side this year and he has won in the Cup Series at the remaining three tracks on the schedule. The 25-year-old driver isn’t taking that for granted.
“The great thing is we’re able to be in this Round of 8, which is a great thing,” Elliott said. “Another thing about that is a win anywhere in this round is an opportunity to race for a championship. Obviously, we want to win – that would be the best way to lock ourselves in. Last year was certainly that way and kind of how it all played out. I would love to do that this weekend at Kansas and be able to go ahead and lock into Phoenix and set our eyes on that one.
“We’re going to fight through it either way and see where we end up.”
Sunday’s playoff race at Kansas Speedway will start at 3 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN.