Chase Elliott Had 1 Main Reason for Xfinity Series Return at Darlington

Chase Elliott

Getty Chase Elliott has revealed his reason for taking over the No. 88 at Darlington.

Chase Elliott took over the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and attempted to qualify for the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway. As it turns out, he actually requested this race so he could complete an important task.

Elliott met with media members on May 6 ahead of Xfinity Series practice and qualifying. While he did not make the final lineup due to rainfall disrupting qualifying, he still completed some important laps. This was fitting considering that Elliott said he specifically chose Darlington so he could make some positive strides at a track where he has previously struggled.

“The process was kind of up in the air based on what JRM could do as far as a fifth car and what races they also have available as well, or what was open for HendrickCars to support,” Elliott said during his media availability.

“We had a choice, and I wanted to do this one. I felt like I struggled here the last couple of years, and I haven’t done a great job,” Elliott continued. “I wanted some extra laps, and I don’t know if it will help or not. But I wanted to give it an effort to do so and try to get better for Sunday.”

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Elliott Made Waves Early at Darlington Raceway

Chase Elliott

GettyChase Elliott has mixed success at Darlington Raceway.

The Georgia native hasn’t achieved much success at Darlington during his Cup Series career, but he made waves during the 2014 Xfinity Series season. He drove the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports and won three races.

One of these victories took place early in the season at Darlington Raceway. Elliott headed to South Carolina fresh off a win at Texas Motor Speedway, and he lined up second overall for the start of the 147-lap race. He then led 52 laps and captured the win after passing Elliott Sadler on the final one.

Elliott hasn’t replicated this early Xfinity Series success at Darlington Raceway. He has made two other starts in the series at the track with one top-10 finish. He drove a GMS Racing entry to a sixth-place finish in 2018, but he only finished 24th during the 2015 season.

“Yeah, it seems like I’ve just gotten worse here over time,” Elliott continued. “So, I guess ignorance was bliss. But as it pertains to that night in particular, the win was great, don’t get me wrong. But I was really more proud of how we ran. I felt like we were one of the best couple of cars that night. I thought us and Kyle Busch were really good that night. (Kyle) Larson was also good that night. But I thought we were right there amongst the best and I thought that was something to be really proud of as a group and as we were getting started.”

None of the Current HMS Drivers Have Cup Wins at Darlington

Elliott has won 14 races during his Cup Series career, as well as the 2020 championship. However, he has not achieved much success at The Track Too Tough to Tame. He has made 10 starts at Darlington with four top-10 finishes and two top-fives. His best was fourth place during the first 2020 race.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers have accounted for 14 wins at Darlington Raceway, but none have reached Victory Lane since Jimmie Johnson in 2012. Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Alex Bowman are all winless at the track in their careers.

The quartet will have an opportunity to end this streak on May 8 when they compete in the Goodyear 400. According to BetMGM, Larson has the best odds to snap this winless streak at 5-1. He sits ahead of Martin Truex Jr. (7-1) and Denny Hamlin (7-1). Elliott is listed fourth overall at 8-1.

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