Chase Elliott (left), talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Elliott Looks To Defend Monster Mile Triumph

DOVER, Del. — As Chase Elliott continues to get back into a rhythm in the cockpit of his No. 9 Chevrolet, Dover Motor Speedway may be the place for a big momentum swing. 

Two weeks since returning from a snowboarding injury that left the Hendrick Motorsports driver sidelined for six races with a fractured tibia, Elliott is 31st in points. Though a victory is all the 27-year-old needs to earn a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs. 

While earning a win is easier said than done, Elliott’s track record at the Monster Mile speaks for itself. Alongside being the defending race winner from last season, the 2020 Cup Series champion owns two poles and a victory in 2018. 

Heading into Monday’s Wurth 400, Elliott is keeping his mindset simple. 

“Yeah, it’s certainly an opportunity. When we show up properly, I think any given week can be a good opportunity for us, frankly,” Elliott said. “But certainly as I referenced a second ago, this has been a good track for us. Does that guarantee that tomorrow (Monday) is going to go good? No, but I certainly hope so.

“But look, these races, a lot can happen and a lot can happen out of your control. You have to put it all together on the race track, on the pit box, on pit road – everything has to be perfect. That’s a lot to put together and I think it’s a bit unfair to throw that all on one day and bet the house on it. That’ just unrealistic,” Elliott continued.

Elliott on track at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“But I think we can go and have a good run here just like we can go and have a good run next week or the next 15 after that, if we show up and do our part.”

In terms of controlling what they can control, Elliott and the No. 9 team are taking it one race at a time. HMS as an organization has been nothing short of brilliant thus far this season. 

With four victories in 10 races between William Byron (two wins) and Kyle Larson (two wins), the team has been firing on all cylinders. 

“Well for me personally, I’m just kind of getting back, really and truly,” Elliott admitted. “Obviously Hendrick Motorsports as a company has had a lot of success. When I was gone, I felt like they ran really well at Las Vegas. They ran really good at Phoenix. I thought they were OK at COTA. Atlanta is obviously a bit of a wash. But Richmond, they were obviously very strong there, as well.”

Despite being out and getting readjusted to the physical demands wheeling a race car takes, Elliott is playing the patience game, knowing his true form will reappear with time. 

“As a whole, I feel like the Chevrolet camp and Hendrick Motorsports have been strong. For me, we ran Martinsville (Va.) and then went to Talladega (Ala.). We were OK at Martinsville – we certainly weren’t anything special,” Elliott said.

“We were really bad there for the majority of the day, but we qualified bad. We qualified bad and put ourselves in a tough spot. You’re going to start see that narrative more – I think when you qualify bad, it’s probably going to set you up for a long day.

“I think we’re in a good place. I just have to get back in the rhythm of doing this stuff and getting going.”