The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Sunday with a trip to Dover International Speedway. There are several drivers in contention for the win, but one will have to overcome early problems. Chase Elliott will start at the rear of the field after failing inspection twice.
According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, Elliott failed inspection once for a “discretionary template issue.” The No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro failed the second time with a right rear camber issue. Elliott’s stock car passed inspection on the third try, so he only had to drop to the rear of the field.
Elliott’s Camaro has failed inspection multiple times during the 2021 season, resulting in him dropping to the rear of the field. The No. 9 went to the back of the field at Phoenix and Atlanta in March, as well as the Busch Clash in February. Additionally, the team received an unapproved adjustment penalty at Darlington after forgetting to remove a packer from the car.
Elliott is still searching for his first win of 2021
The defending Cup Series champion, Elliott has yet to win a race in 2021. He has five top-10 finishes in the first 12 races, including second place in the Daytona 500. Elliott also finished second at Martinsville.
While the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro has failed inspection multiple times and dropped to the rear of the field, he has managed to overcome the early issues. He finished fifth at Phoenix and seventh at Darlington. He finished 38th at Atlanta after experiencing engine issues.
Elliott has 10 starts to his name at Dover, as well as a history of success. He has seven top-five finishes and a win in the Gander Outdoors 400. Elliott’s only two races in which he did not perform well at Dover involved a crash and a mechanical issue. He finished 38th in 2019 with engine problems and then 39th in the second 2020 race after a crash.
Elliott will join another driver at the rear of the field
The No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro will not be the only car dropping to the back of the pack on Sunday, albeit for a very different reason. The No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro will also start at the rear due to a COVID-related issue that forced a late driver change.
Spire Motorsports announced prior to Sunday’s race that driver Justin Haley would miss a start due to COVID-19 protocol. JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry agreed to get behind the wheel of the No. 77 Chevrolet and make his Cup Series debut. The Dover Dash 4 Cash winner will also complete the Triple Monster Challenge, which is starting three races in three days.
With the driver change, Berry will have to drop to the rear of the field. Zane Smith had to do the same thing after replacing Haley for the Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Berry does not know if he will be able to recover from the drop and race to a top-10 finish, but he will be able to lean on the experience gained in the ARCA Menards and Xfinity Series races on Friday and Saturday.
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