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Chase Elliott will start from rear after engine failure early in practice

Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet suffered an engine failure within the first five laps of the first practice Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.

It’s the second engine failure of the 2019 playoffs for Elliott, who made only eight laps at Dover International Speedway in the Round of 12 opener. Despite that 38th-place finish, the Hendrick Motorsports driver squeaked into the third round of the playoffs with a runner-up finish at Kansas Speedway.

“I don’t think they’re related,” Elliott said after practice Saturday morning. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Anytime you have two engine problems in four weeks, that’s not good for sure.

“I do know we’ll do a diligent job of trying to figure out what the problem is. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t know why or what broke. If we can find (what caused it), I’m sure we’ll get it corrected.”

Because of the engine change, Elliott will start at the back of Sunday’s 500-lap race at Martinsville. He finished second in the March 24 race at the 0.526-mile oval.

“We broke a motor five laps in, obviously an unfortunate way to start the day for sure,” Elliott said. “Just one of those things. It is what it is. Everyone is working hard to get the car put back together and get some practice in, and at this point, that’s the most important thing.”