NASCAR's Chase Elliott is 'hungry for wins' with road racing ahead

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott returns to the site of his first series win this weekend to add to his already-stout record in road racing.

Listen to this article

Prior to last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, Elliott had won the last two races at historic Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, including his 2018 victory which was his first career win.

Should he win again on Sunday, Elliott would join NASCAR Hall of Famers Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon as the only drivers since track’s first race in 1957 to win three consecutive times on the 2.45-mile, seven-turn road course.

A victory would also give him eight road course wins already in his Cup career and tie him with another Hall of Famer, Tony Stewart, for second all-time at just 25 years old.

“I’m just excited to be going back. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Elliott said. “Every time you go to the track, look, it’s always going to be tough.

“As I’ve said many times before, past success doesn’t equal future success and I don’t think that’s any different this weekend. I anticipate everybody else will be better than they were last time we were up there; and we just try to make sure we match it ourselves to have another shot.”

A new road course opportunity 

He’ll have another opportunity next weekend as well as the series makes its inaugural visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Since 1994, the Cup series has run on the iconic 2.5-mile oval.

Seven of Elliott’s 13 career Cup wins have come on road courses, including both of his victories so far this season – at Circuit of the Americas and Road America.

Outside of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates and his crew chief lauding him as a very technical driver, Elliott isn’t sure why he has developed a special affinity for road racing in NASCAR.

“I really don’t feel like I do anything spectacularly special, more, or very different at those places. But again, we’ve had a good package as a company,” Elliott said. “The No. 9 team now used to be the No. 24 team, and Jeff (Gordon) had a lot of successes on road courses.

“Alan (Gustafson, Elliott’s crew chief) has a great understanding and a little history of road racing, too, prior to NASCAR. So, I feel like we’ve focused on things that matter and we’ve developed a good package. But as I always say, things are evolving and changing as time goes, and we’ve got to continue to push and be better, too.

“We know our competition is, and we’ll give it our best shot and see where we stack up this weekend, just like always.”

Elliott is certainly not alone when it comes to success on road courses at Hendrick Motorsports.

Will Hendrick continue their road course dominance?

HMS holds the Cup Series record for all-time road-course victories with 23, which is 10 more than next-best Joe Gibbs Racing.

The organization has won on road courses with a series-high seven different drivers: Gordon (nine), Elliott (seven), Tim Richmond (three), Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine. Hendrick also has the most road-course stage wins of any team with 11.

It’s that company-wide success that Gustafson believes provides the foundation for all HMS drivers to do well when makes left and right-hand turns.

“I feel like if we are at our best, then certainly we are competitive to win races and championships,” Gustafson said. “To me, it’s always really been about Hendrick Motorsports optimizing what we can control, and (team owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick gives us the resources and Chevrolet and all our partners give us what we need to win.

“It is just up to us to optimize it and do what we can internally to be the best we can. If we can do that, then regardless of what goes on around us, we are going to be in good shape.”

Read Also:

Elliott certainly enters the weekend as a favorite, both because of his recent success at the Glen but also because he’s won six of the Cup Series’ last seven road course events.

But as he has said many times, past success produces no guarantees for what lies ahead.

“It’s a great honor to be even on the same page as Tony or Jeff. Whether we can ever get there or not, to even be in the same sentence, or like I said, on the same page, I think is very cool,” Elliott said.

“It’s been fun and we’re proud of our accomplishments. But we also are hungry for wins and will try to do that this weekend.”

shares
comments

Related video

What time and channel is the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen?
Previous article

What time and channel is the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen?

Next article

Elliott and Bell penalized, NASCAR crew chiefs ejected from Watkins Glen

Elliott and Bell penalized, NASCAR crew chiefs ejected from Watkins Glen
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021