Clock Ticking on Chase Elliott's NASCAR Playoff Hopes

·3 min read
auto may 14 nascar cup series goodyear 400
Clock Ticking on Elliott's NASCAR Playoff HopesIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

Chase Elliott, who is still seeking a NASCAR Cup Series victory he needs to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs, recorded a third-place finish at Darlington Raceway Sunday, his first top-five since returning from a broken leg suffered in a snowboarding accident.

The top five came despite his involvement in an eight-car accident with 12 laps remaining in the scheduled 293-lap race. However, Elliott wasn’t pleased with his performance.

“I just do such a terrible job getting up through traffic,” Elliott said. “I get stalled out behind guys, and I just feel like people driving cars like mine don’t do that. They tend to get up through there and get to where they belong.”

Elliott said the issues were with him, not his car.

“I need to just try to improve and keep going to work on the areas that I’m struggling in and try to build on the improvements we’ve made,” Elliott continued. “I certainly have a long way to go.”

Elliott has 13 races left to secure that win before the Cup Series playoffs begin on September 3, back at Darlington.

auto may 14 nascar cup series goodyear 400
Fifth place wasn’t good enough for Bubba Wallace on Sunday.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Wallace Upset With Finishing Order

Bubba Wallace produced his second consecutive top-five finish and third this season in Sunday’s Goodyear 500 at Darlington Raceway, but the Toyota driver wasn’t happy with the finishing order.

“I keep looking at that (scoring) pylon and I’m still pissed off,” said Wallace, who led three times for three laps and finished fifth. “There are a couple cars up there that were in a wreck that got put back in front of us. That’s bull crap and it’s frustrating that we got beat like that. I thought we were a second-place car.”

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Martin Truex Jr. was involved in more than one incidents on Sunday.Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images

Multi-car Crash Ends Truex’s Day

Martin Truex Jr. led twice for 145 laps in the 295-lap overtime finish in Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway, but it was an eight-car crash that ended his day.

Actually, Truex pointed to an incident with Ross Chastain at the end of Stage 2 that adversely affected his car and led to the accident later in the event.

Truex and Chastain were racing for the second Stage win when their cars collided and Truex spun. He said that incident knocked his car’s toe out in the right front.

“There was plenty of room there, but he just came off the wall and hit me,” Truex said. “Pretty crappy from there and then on that restart (on lap 281) I guess I just got real tight. I don’t even know who I squeezed into the wall, but I apologize to them.”

auto may 14 nascar cup series goodyear 400
Kevin Harvick had to work for his second-place finish at Darlington. Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Harvick Struggles His Way to Second

Kevin Harvick produced his first second-place finish this season in Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway, but the Ford driver struggled through most of the race.

“The Fords struggle in traffic with this particular aero package and it’s hard to make up ground,” said Harvick, who led twice for five laps.

“Then we lost a bunch of ground on pit road under the green flag pit stop.”

Towards the end of the race, Harvick was involved in an eight-car accident that left his Ford with structural damage.

“I think if you would have dropped us in first or second place, we probably could have run there,” Harvick said.