Chase Elliott’s bid for a Sprint Cup playoff berth took another hit Monday at Pocono Raceway.
On the 106th lap of the Pennsylvania 400, Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet slid up the track and made contact with Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford, which slammed the outside wall.
Elliott, who entered Pocono as the highest-ranked winless driver on the Chase for the Sprint Cup grid, spun into the inside SAFER barrier. He took his car to the garage for repairs and returned to the 2.5-mile track in 33rd, three laps down.
Elliott said he was trying to draft off Denny Hamlin into the first turn and didn’t expect to lose the handle on his car.
“I apologize to (Logano’s team), completely my fault,” Elliott told NBCSN’s Marty Snider. “I apologize to my guys. They gave me a good car today. I need to rethink my reevaluation of how I approach these races. It’s not working out now.”
The Hendrick Motorsports rookie will finish outside the top 10 for the sixth consecutive race in NASCAR’s premier series. Elliott had fallen from sixth in points (after a second at Michigan International Speedway in June) to 11th in the standings over the past five races.
The slump began with a 21st at Sonoma Raceway, which was followed by crashes at Daytona International Speedway (32nd), Kentucky Speedway (31st) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (34th).
“Just poor decisions on my behalf is the biggest thing,” Elliott said. “The best way to fix it is obviously see that first and go to work and rethink my approach. It’s definitely not working. We’ve had good cars. We had a good car today. It was a step in the right direction from the last few weeks. I just didn’t do my part.
“It’s not bad luck. It’s me putting us in bad spots.”
Logano, who had been leading shortly before the incident, also headed to the garage for repairs.