Chase Elliott admitted to being concerned after a second mechanical failure – and third in four weeks – took him out of contention at Martinsville Speedway.
It started Saturday morning with an engine change after a mechanical issue sent smoke and flames from underneath Elliott’s car. That put him to the rear for the start of the race Sunday afternoon. After working his way inside the top 10, Elliott was slow leaving his pit stall on Lap 179 and told his team that he thought the No. 9 Chevrolet had a broken axle.
After losing 12 laps on pit road as the team worked on both the right and left side, Elliott was forced into the garage for additional repairs. He returned to the race on lap 236 and 52 laps down. In returning to the race, Elliott picked up two additional positions to finish 36th.
“Whatever that’s worth,” he said. “Frustrating.”
Elliott earned a total of four points. Three of those came from finishing eighth in Stage 1.
“Just disappointing for a day like that,” he said. “We know better, and we can do better than that.”
Now last on the playoff grid, Elliott said his approach is to go win.
With two races left in the Round of 8, Elliott is 44 points from a transfer position. Texas Motor Speedway is the next playoff race followed by ISM Raceway.
“That’s certainly the case now,” said Elliott of being in a must-win situation. “We do have to win.”
In the first race of the previous round, Elliott suffered a mechanical issue early in the day at Dover. That also put him in a position where he had to come from behind to advance in the playoffs.
Team owner Rick Hendrick said it’s hard to believe something could happen to Elliott twice in one week. However, he said it was two different issues.
“I don’t know how many motors we build a year, and we have one that breaks a rod bearing and rear ends, we build rear ends for the 42 (Kyle Larson) and several other teams, and it’s just a fluke,” Hendrick said. “You have mechanical parts they’re going to break. So, I don’t think it’s anything to clean up; it’s just go out and try to win Texas.”