Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Chase Elliott builds upon Texas win as NASCAR heads to Talladega

The question after Sunday’s Cup race won by Chase Elliott was if the Hendrick Motorsports driver was back.

Some would argue he’s not been gone, especially this season.

“We don’t, as a company, think Chase Elliott has ever been gone,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “We had some things to work on with the team, the support we were giving them. As I said before, he and (crew chief Alan Gustafson) spent a lot of time this winter on rebuilding that team, putting the right folks in that team, people that believed as much in that team as Alan and Chase did.

William Byron scored his second consecutive top-three finish at Texas.

“I think when you get all the folks pulling together and rowing the boat in one direction, you start to see the results like we’ve had so far with that team in 2024.”

Elliot’s victory snapped a 42-race winless drought — the longest of his career since he scored his first series win in 2018. He goes for his second consecutive victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway (3 p.m. ET on Fox).

Last season, Elliott failed to win a race for the first time since 2018. A snowboarding injury sidelined him for six races and he missed another after NASCAR suspended him for wrecking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

Ahead of last year’s season finale at Phoenix, Elliott traced some of the team’s struggles to the end of the 2022 season. He also acknowledged he had more to do, saying of what he learned in the 2023 season: “Lots of lessons. A lot about the car and what I want to feel and what I think I need to feel in the vehicle each week, so really more just car related and kind of digesting most of that.”

While the winless streak continued into this season — and more attention was paid to it as teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson won — Elliott showed signs of strength.

He ranked fourth in average run position in the series ahead of the Texas race, trailing only Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.

Elliott arrived in Texas sixth in the points. He has been in the top 10 in points all season. He also was sixth in stage points scored going into last weekend’s event.

Ryan Blaney hit the wall after contact from Ryan Preece. Blaney explains what happened.

“I felt like we’ve just been running better throughout not just the last few weeks,” Elliott said after the win. “I mean, yes, we’ve had better finishes over the last few weeks. I feel like just generally speaking from a competitive standpoint we’ve been better to the competition throughout really most of the season, we just haven’t always had great finishes and great results.

“But relative to the guys that have won a lot of these things over the last year or so, I felt like we’ve been closer to them. I still think we have a lot of work to do, for sure. A lot of things went our way (Sunday), I’m not naïve to that, for sure as well.

“You have to be in the mix. You got to be up front to even have things go your way. We were close enough to do that. We still want to be better. I think we have room for improvement. Just proud of the way everything worked out. ... Just to have a shot is enjoyable.”

Elliott’s good friend, Ryan Blaney, could relate to the challenges Elliott has faced in getting better results.

“I’ve been on a long winless streak, too,” Blaney said of the 59-race winless drought he ended by winning last year’s Coca-Cola 600. “… It gets hard and frustrating. It’s like, ‘What do I have to do to win again?’ It can be tough, but it’s the same Chase, the same great racer that he’s been forever.

“He just went through a little spell of not great times for a little bit, but that’s how you pull yourself out of it. I’m proud of him for clawing his way out of it and having confidence in his abilities and going out there and taking what was his and that was winning the race. I was happy for him for sure if we couldn’t do it.”