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Solo wreck ends Chase Elliott’s championship hopes

Chase Elliott's car suffers heavy rear damage after the No. 9 slams into the SAFER barrier, which ends his day early and any hopes of qualifying for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami.

Chase Elliott will not advance to next Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Elliott was running third when he apparently suffered a flat rear tire, wrecking on Lap 166 of Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway, hitting hard into the wall exiting Turn 1. It was a solo crash, but Elliott’s car – and his championship hopes – were both destroyed.

“It’s just a continuation of our first two weeks (of the Round of 8), unfortunately,” Elliott told NBC Sports. “I felt we were in a good position to run solid. I’m not sure why we had a tire go down, I think that’s what happened at least. It seemed like it.”

Elliott came into Sunday’s scheduled 312-lap race around the 1-mile oval 78 points below the playoff cutline. He was in a must-win situation if he hoped to compete for the title at Miami.

Elliott’s departure, as well as Kyle Larson falling short, makes it three straight seasons now where Chevrolet will not have an entry in the Championship 4 race.

Elliott will finish last in the 39-car field. He concludes the Round of 8 with finishes of 36th at Martinsville, 32nd at Texas and now Sunday’s finish.

“These last three weeks have been pretty rough, so hopefully Homestead goes better and hopefully we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next season,” Elliott said.

Follow @JerryBonkowski