AVONDALE, Ariz. – Chase Elliott’s luck has been abysmal lately and it didn’t get any better Sunday at ISM Raceway.
In desperate need of a victory in order to earn a berth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship race next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Elliott instead crashed while racing inside the top-five on the 169th lap.
It was just the latest in a string of disappointing finishes for Elliott during the third round of the playoffs, which included finishes of 36th at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and 32nd at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.
The poor finishes were the result of a mechanical issue at Martinsville and a crash at Texas.
“Yeah, it’s just a continuation of our first two weeks, unfortunately. I hate it for our NAPA group. We had a decent NAPA Chevy today,” Elliott said Sunday.
The Georgia native has had good results this year, earning three victories, including most recently at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL in September. However, his poor runs during the third round of the playoffs have turned an otherwise strong season a bit sour.
Elliott believed Sunday’s crash, which saw him back his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the outside wall between turns one and two, was the result of a flat tire.
“It was really tough in traffic to catch guys and then pass and whatnot. But, I feel like we were in a good position to run solid,” Elliott said. “I’m not sure why we had a tire go down. I think that’s what happened, at least; it seemed like it. It’s unfortunate. Like I said, these last three weeks have been pretty rough. So, hopefully Homestead goes better and we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next year.”
Elliott was one of four playoff drivers eliminated from contention following Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500. Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson were also eliminated.