Chase Elliott Inches Closer to Next Gen Comfort

Chase Elliott

Getty Chase Elliott will partner with Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro has experienced mixed success during the 2022 Cup Series season. Chase Elliott has a win and the points lead, but he has also dealt with some struggles while driving the Next Gen car.

Elliott addressed his early-season struggles prior to the Coca-Cola 600. He explained that he is still learning the intricacies of the Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro and that he still has some knowledge to gain. Specifically, Elliott is not yet at the point where he can tell his crew exactly what to adjust over the course of a race.

“I’m still learning. There’s just a lot of little details that I’m still trying to become accustomed to, feel good about and have enough experience to know what I want in the car,” Elliott told media members, transcript courtesy of Team Chevy. “I think that was something where we got to a point with the old car where I could almost identify what part of the car I needed to work better, and I haven’t really gotten there with this car yet. Hopefully, I will, at some point, be able to help my guys and be able to steer us in a better direction as time goes.”

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The Coca-Cola 600 was a fitting example of the issues. Elliott started out near the middle of the pack, but he raced his way to the front and won Stage 1. He continued to battle with Daniel Suarez during Stage 2, but he hit the wall and broke a toe link.

The No. 9 team was able to make repairs and get Elliott back on the track, but he did not complete the race. He actually took his car to the garage at the end of Stage 2 after the big one took place and collected several of the top drivers in the field, including Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney. Elliott’s car fell victim to the damaged vehicle policy and led to his first DNF of the year.

Elliott Has Still Achieved Success in 2022

Chase Elliott

GettyChase Elliott has earned the most stage points.

While Elliott is not yet at his desired comfort level, he has continued to contend for strong finishes during the 2022 season. He has completed every race, and he has posted top-10 finishes at difficult tracks such as Daytona International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway.

A bigger example of Elliott’s consistency is his spot on the stage points leaderboard. He only has three stage wins — fewer than Ryan Blaney (four) and the same number as William Byron (three), Ross Chastain, and Martin Truex Jr. (three) — but he holds the top spot in points. Elliott entered the Coca-Cola 600 weekend with 124 stage points and he added 10 more after winning Stage 1.

Elliott had also secured the top spot in the championship standings after the trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he did not reach Victory Lane until six weeks later. He captured the race at Dover Motor Speedway on May 2 after leading 73 of the 400 laps. This performance solidified his spot at the top of the standings, which he has maintained.

Elliott Has Plans To Secure Another Trophy

The Dawsonville native has added multiple trophies to his collection over the course of his Cup Series career. He has 14 career wins with each bringing a trophy. He also has the trophy for winning the Cup Series championship in 2020.

There is one trophy that Elliott has yet to secure. He hasn’t won the regular-season championship during his Cup Series career, but he is well on his way to achieving this goal. He has the points lead, and he can win the regular-season championship by remaining consistent in the remaining races.

If Elliott secures this elusive trophy, he will gain an advantage entering the playoffs. He will lock up 15 bonus points that will all but guarantee that he automatically moves through the opening Round of 16.

“Well, it’s worth three wins, right? So, it’s a very big deal,” Elliott added during his media availability. “Anything you can do to hedge your bet and having bonus points is just bettering your odds to making it to Phoenix (Raceway). Those points are on the table for everybody at the beginning of the season.

“We’ve wanted them every year. It’s not just because you’re leading the points that you want them more. We want them all the time. My want for those 15 points is unchanged today versus years past or any other circumstance. We’d love to have them.”

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