Elliott "confused" by tyre issues in crucial Texas NASCAR race

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott was left "confused" by repeated tyre problems at Texas which dented his playoff hopes, but accepted the outcome could have been worse than seventh.

Elliott "confused" by tyre issues in crucial Texas NASCAR race

The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver appeared to have a car that could contend with team-mate and eventual race winner Kyle Larson on Sunday, but right-front tyres issues plagued him during the race.

Starting at the rear of the field after his car failed pre-race inspection multiple times, he fought up to eighth by the conclusion of the first stage before his first of three tyre vibration issues struck in the second stage.

After this first vibration-enforced stop - which came just before he was planning a green-flag stop - Elliott twice made additional stops under caution to ensure he wouldn’t lose a tyre at racing speeds.

Under the circumstances, a seventh-placed finish was a respectable outcome. But it leaves him among the four drivers - the others being Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr and Joey Logano - who would currently not advance to the championship four at Phoenix to contend for the title.

“I thought by the end, we were decent, just by that point obviously it was too late,” Elliott said.

“I had another (tyre) vibrate again after that, so I’m not really sure what we had going on there.

“There’s nothing really glaring as to what would cause that. So, I’m really confused.

“We’ll talk about it and maybe we’ll get to the bottom of why that happened. But regardless, just proud of the fight. Obviously, it could have been a lot worse.”

Seventh place finish keeps Elliott in the hunt, albeit outside the cut line for the time being

Seventh place finish keeps Elliott in the hunt, albeit outside the cut line for the time being

Photo by: Motorsport Images

With two races remaining in the semi-final round of the places, Elliott trails fourth-place Kyle Busch by eight points.

He has won at both the next two tracks in the schedule - Kansas, in 2018, and Martinsville in 2020 - and remains optimistic of joining Larson in the title fight.

Ryan Blaney currently sits second in points, with Denny Hamlin third.

“Hopefully, we can join [Larson] in Phoenix and I’m looking forward to these next two weeks,” Elliott said.

“I think we can run good at the next couple and I feel like we’re all super close in points.

“I feel like if we just go do our job these next two weeks and control what’s in our hands, we’ll be alright.”

Problems hit playoff contenders

An engine failure for Logano on lap 300 of 334 left the 2018 champion to be classified 30th, and rooted to the bottom of the eight drivers remaining in contention.

Now a distant 43 points back of the cut line, he accepts that only a win will likely get him back into contention.

“Now we know what we have to do these next two weeks, we better go find a way to win,” he said.

“We have to move on, it is what it is now - we can’t change it. Not many points today, so that is a bummer. We will be fighting from here.”

Engine failure has badly hurt Logano's title hopes

Engine failure has badly hurt Logano's title hopes

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Truex fared little better after contact from behind pitched him into the wall and ended his day on the spot, ending up 25th.

Hamlin also endured an eventful run to 11th , touching the inside wall after a tyre let go, then picking up more damage following contact between Chase Briscoe and Chris Buescher exiting Turn 2.

The result leaves him just above the elimination zone, nine points clear of the cut line.

shares
comments

Related video

Texas NASCAR: Larson wins to secure final four playoffs place
Previous article

Texas NASCAR: Larson wins to secure final four playoffs place

Next article

Hamlin: NASCAR needs "F1-style approach" to race weekends

Hamlin: NASCAR needs "F1-style approach" to race weekends
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While 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, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

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

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

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
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021