CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott wasn’t used to looking down the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ running order to find his name.
He had to do it in a rare occasion on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when Elliott finished 37th in the History 300.
A mechanical failure put Elliott into the wall on lap 88, just 10 laps after the JR Motorsports driver made a pit stop.
The Dawsonville, Ga. native pulled his car into the garage for repairs, finished 26 laps down and lost the championship lead to teammate Regan Smith.
Elliott said his No. 9 NAPA Chevy needed more work than the repairs could provide.
“Something wasn’t right from qualifying and the beginning of the race (to the accident),” Elliott said. “I don’t know if something was wrong there, or we were just that bad.
“It’s just part of racing. You’re going to have weekends like this.”
Kyle Larson won the race, his second Nationwide victory of the year.
Elliott, who is tied with Larson and Kyle Busch with a series-high two wins, fell to third in Nationwide standings. He’s 28 points behind Smith after 11 races.
The 18-year-old rookie’s first race at Charlotte marked his first career finish outside the top 20.
Elliott’s worst Nationwide finish prior to Charlotte was a 19th-place result at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 3.
Charlotte, however, was one Elliott will try harder than usual to forget.
“I think we take what we learned in practice and the rest of it and throw it in the trash,” Elliott said, “because today was a disaster.”
Smith said his car, Elliott’s, and fellow JRM driver Kevin Harvick’s cars all needed better grip throughout the race.
“I thought we were good when we unloaded,” Smith said. “We fought the same stuff all weekend long with corner entry. It seemed like we were just a little bit off with all three cars, but that’s rare.
“You have to take the positives out of this weekend, and know that we have to work a bit harder for the Fall race.”