Saturday, May 21

Elliott's Summer Struggle

Tuesday, Aug 02 1726
When Chase Elliott began the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign, things looked promising for the 20 year old out of Dawsonville, Ga.

The No. 24 Chevrolet driver, with NAPA Auto Parts as a primary sponsor, won the pole at the Daytona 500 back in February to begin the season with a bang, only to be sidelined at Lap 20 in the 'Great American Race'. Elliott would eventually finish 37th in the first race of the season. He suffered another bump in the road during the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas when he was involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 225 of 267. The end result was a 38th-place finish.

Despite the shaky start, the rookie contender has accumulated six top fives and 11 top 10's. Elliott sat on the pole for the second time at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway where he finished fifth. His best finish to date came at FireKeepers Casino 400 in Michigan this past June where he was runner-up to the No. 22 Ford of Team Penske driven by Joey Logano.

The return to Daytona didn't treat Elliott any better as he was involved in another multi-car incident on Lap 89. He eventually finished 32nd. Kentucky didn't go any smoother as Elliott ran into another problem when he was involved in an on-track accident at Lap 89. He was scored 31st on the board.

Elliott finished fourth in Pocono's June event, the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400, but yesterday's Pennsylvania 400 didn't go as well. On Lap 106, he made contact with No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford driver Ryan Blaney. “I hated to put anybody in a bad spot," Elliott said in a post-race Team Chevy release. "I had a bad segment of events prior to that (contact with Ryan Blaney) and I was trying to stop the bleeding doing all I could do. I felt like we were falling back. We were losing too many spots and I had to do something to try to keep from continuing to fall back and lose all that track position." Elliott finished 33rd when the race was called due to foggy conditions.

Although he has not won a race yet this season, it looked at the beginning of the summer as though Elliott would make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on points. Unfortunately, the month of July didn't pan out in favor of the 2014 Xfinity Series Champion. Elliott has not recorded a top-10 finish since the June Michigan race and has struggled throughout the month of July. His only top-20 run came at Indianapolis a week ago where he finished 15th.

There are now five weeks left before NASCAR's playoff system begins. It's not over yet but Elliott is currently on the Chase bubble. He's not giving up, but a regroup is in order.

"I need to re-think my evaluation of how I’m going to approach these races because it’s not working out right now," Elliott said. "It's just poor decisions on my behalf I think, is the biggest thing. The best way to fix it is obviously to see it at first and notice it and just go to work and like I said, rethink my approach. It’s definitely not working."

Despite the dismal finish at Pocono, Elliott is still optimistic that his season will turn around. I felt like we were a step in the right direction from where we had been the last couple of weeks, which I felt like was a good sign," he said. "I just didn’t do my part. I need to rethink things and try to do a better job and put us in a better position. It’s not bad luck. It’s just me putting us in bad spots.”
Katie Williams

Coming off the ranch, I didn’t have a motorsports background but my passion was and still is very strong. My first taste of NASCAR came at the age of seven while waiting for music videos to come on the old TNN network. As I grew up, I pursued other interest but eventually rediscovered cars going left when I found the SPEED channel during the 2011-2012 offseason.

I didn’t decide I wanted to pursue a career in NASCAR until the summer of 2012. I’m not a wrench head or strong enough for a pit crew so media was the next best thing. At the beginning of 2013, I started going to races and making connections within the sport. I also studied Motorsports Management at Sports Management Worldwide. Although I love what happens on the track, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I’ve gotten to know many people throughout the radio, TV and digital media world.

While I’m a long time writer, 2015 was my first year actually covering the sport with . I also became a media correspondent for Raceline. I’ve been able to help the TV show gain recognition on social media. My current goal is to acquire more experience in covering NASCAR and move up the media ladder. Outside of motorsports, I have been an equine-sports statistician for 16 years.

I currently reside in Gillette, WY where I’m still involved with horses. I enjoy riding them, rodeo, swimming, traveling and meeting people.

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