Chase Elliott had to win Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway to advance to the Nov. 17 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and for the first two stages of the event, it appeared Elliott might have the car to get the job done.
After moving into second place during a restart on lap 73, Elliott battled eventual race winner Hamlin during a protracted stretch of the race’s second stage. But seven laps after the restart for the final segment of the race, Elliott blew a left-rear tire and rocketed into the turn one wall, destroying the rear of his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Elliott finished 39th and will have to wait until 2020 to try for the championship again.
“Yeah, it’s just a continuation of our first two weeks, unfortunately,” said Elliott, who finished 36th at Martinsville and 32nd at Texas in the previous two Round of 8 races. “I hate it for our NAPA group. We had a decent NAPA Chevy today. It was really tough in traffic to catch guys and then pass and what not.
“But I feel like we were in a good position to run solid. I’m not sure why we had a tire go down. I think that’s what happened, at least; it seemed like it. It’s unfortunate. Like I said, these last three weeks have been pretty rough. So hopefully Homestead goes better, and we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next year.”