Elliott hopes Sunday's performance wasn't "dumb luck"
No one was more surprised with Chase Elliott’s performance Sunday at New Hampshire than himself.
Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott included, has not exactly been setting the world on fire with their performance this season but Elliott certainly turned heads Sunday, picking up his first stage win of 2018 and leading 23 laps before coming away with a fifth-place finish.
Elliott qualified 10th but struggled in Saturday’s final practice session, posting the 22nd-fastest speed.
“I was shocked, to be honest with you, that we ran even that good. Our whole group did a great job overnight,” Elliott said after the race. “I really have no idea where that came from.
“I hope it wasn’t dumb luck. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling because it’s really nice to be able to go up there and lead some laps.”
All four HMS drivers finished 14th or higher Sunday, with Jimmie Johnson joining Elliott in the Top 10.
In the last three races Elliott had finished no better than 13th and wrecked out of the Daytona race. His most recent top-five came at Sonoma, Calif., last month.
“I know it wasn’t the right part of the race, but still, leading laps for us is big compared to what we’ve been doing. I’m proud of the effort,” he said.
“I appreciate everybody’s effort back at Hendrick and the chassis shop and engine shop and Chevrolet and all the folks that are working hard to try to get better. We took a step in the right direction.”
For a driver who remains in the hunt to make the playoffs but still lacks a victory, Elliott’s performance Sunday did wonders for their prospects.
“Yeah, it was a huge points day for us. Obviously, we’d love that win to not have to worry about it. But, we got 19 points between the two Stages, that’s 19 positions on-track, and that’s a lot,” he said.
“Anything can happen in these next few weeks and to have all you can get is really important.”
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