Chase Elliott beats himself up over “terrible” first Rolex 24 stint

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion and Rolex 24 at Daytona debutant Chase Elliott says his first race stint in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series opener was “terrible” and fears that he damaged his car by hitting a curb.

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Elliott is making his sportscar debut with Action Express Racing in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, sharing with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway. The car led the race early on in Nasr’s hands, but lost time when he was forced for emergency service when the pits were closed. 

Elliott then took over the car as darkness descended at Daytona, but was highly self-critical about his stint, which the team ended early to install Conway – and the car dropped off the lead lap in the fifth hour.

“Terrible, terrible, way off the pace” Elliott told NBCSN about his stint. “I just never could get in a good rhythm or find a good pace to run. I felt way better in the final practice [on Friday night] – I just couldn’t find that [feeling]. I need to go to work here and try to be better prepared and go faster than this next stint.

“I put these guys way, way, way too far behind. Hopefully Mike can get after it here, and Pipo gets in after him and can keep pushing, obviously still a long way to go, but I hate to put them in the box like that.”

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When asked where he was losing time, Elliott replied: “It’s a little bit everywhere. I felt like probably [Turn] 6 and the Bus Stop were my worst places for me on track. I didn’t do a good job there at all, in finding a rhythm and getting going, I need to step up here next time around.”

Even worse, he believed that he had damaged the car by striking a curb early in his stint.

“I hit the curbs pretty hard there early in that run, and I was really worried that I’d damaged the underneath [of the car],” he admitted. “We need to look at that under the next caution. Bottom line is, I can’t be doing stuff like that.”

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