Chase Elliott Moving Forward with Strong Focus on Playoffs

DOVER, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 06: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet, is pushed to the garage during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 06, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

DOVER, Del. – Chase Elliott came into Dover International Speedway pegged as a favorite to contend for the race win.

Instead, an engine issue ended his day after just eight laps in the Monster Energy Cup Series Drydene 400 at the Monster Mile on Sunday, relegating the 2018 Most Popular Driver to a 38th-place finish.

“Yeah I just had an engine failure of some sort,” Elliott said. “Unfortunately, we don’t really know what it was just yet. It just quit running. It didn’t really seem like anything was off. We were just kind of making laps and then obviously had a failure. It’s an unfortunate way to start this round for sure.”

Elliott won at Dover last October to kick off the Round of 12 and had never finished worse than 12th at the one-mile concrete oval in seven starts and has six top-five finishes.

The DNF on Sunday sets him 11th in points, seven points beneath the cutoff line entering next week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Elliott claimed the checkered flag at Talladega in April after leading 45 laps.

With two races left in this round of the Playoffs, Elliott sized up the challenge ahead.

“I don’t know where we’ll stack up,” Elliott said. “I assume we’ll have to win one of these next few weeks. If you ever make it to Homestead, you’re going to have to win down there. I guess it’s a good opportunity to practice here these next few weeks.”

The 23-year-old was also victorious at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 2018, where he led 48 laps. Kansas marks the end of the Round of 12 on Oct. 20.