Rookie Chase Elliott on Cusp of Officially Breaking Out

Chase Elliott
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After posting a career-best second-place finish at Michigan on Sunday, it’s only a matter of time before Chase Elliott officially makes his mark on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series scene.

Elliott blamed himself following the Race, pointing to his poor restarts throughout the race.

“I just did something dumb,” said Elliott following the race. “You can't do dumb stuff and win these races. So it was totally my fault. The guys gave me a fantastic car today. This whole NAPA group has been working so hard these past few weeks, and that was all on me. Like I said, you can't do dumb stuff and win these things, and I did today.”

Elliott’s rookie campaign started off with the best possible result by becoming the youngest pole-sitter in the history of the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, after damaging his car on lap 18, Elliott exited the race and returned 40 laps down on lap 59. Elliott finished 37th. Elliott would again get in an accident two races later at Las Vegas and finish 38th.

Since the Las Vegas race on March 6, Elliott has missed out on the Top 10 just twice (20th at Martinsville and 12th at Richmond). Since Richmond, Elliott has finished in the Top 10 in six straight races. Additionally, Elliott finished sixth in the Sprint All-Star Race after winning the Fan Vote.

The 20-year-old has continued his hot streak into June. Within a span of seven days, Elliott led 86 laps (51 laps at Pocono and 35 laps at Michigan). Previously, his season-high in laps led was 27 at Talladega and until Pocono, he had led a total of 32 laps this season.

Elliott is currently sixth in the driver standings despite not having a win yet this season. Through 15 races, Elliott is just 73 points behind Kevin Harvick for the lead in the Sprint Cup Series standings and is the only driver in the Top 10 of the standings without a win.

Additionally, Elliott has quite a few noteworthy accomplishments in his rookie campaign:

  • One of five drivers with six or more top-five finishes.
  • Only former Series champions Kevin Harvick (12) and Kurt Busch (13) have more top-10 finishes than Elliott (11).

In 2014, Elliott became the first rookie to ever win a championship in a NASCAR national series, winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship. If Elliott can keep his momentum going, not only will he be in the Chase, he’ll be a serious contender to win it all and add another championship trophy to his collection.

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