Another runner-up finish. More frustration for Chase Elliott.
Two months after a restart cost him the lead at Michigan International Speedway, Elliott again saw a restart thwart his hopes for his first career Sprint Cup victory Sunday.
Elliott led on a restart with nine laps to go but he spun his tires. Kyle Larson, running second, did as well but recovered to take the lead and go on to win the Pure Michigan 400. Elliott finished second and was left to wonder what more he must do to win a Cup race.
“Just made another mistake,’’ Elliott told NBC Sports after the race. “Had two opportunities to get out front there and kind of control the race and let Kyle get a better start on me. I spun the tires and didn’t do my job right. It’s about as simple as that. When your tires are spinning, you aren’t going forward.
“It’s definitely unfortunate. I hate to let my guys down like that. They bailed me out a few times today, and I gave it right back.’’
Both Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick consoled Elliott after the race.
“You just hate to have an opportunity like that again for a second time to make a second mistake here in a handful on months,’’ Elliott said. “I ought to know better, but as I proved today I didn’t and I don’t, so I need to readjust my restarts and try to do a better job. Hopefully, that will give us more opportunities down the road.’’
Larson’s win meant there are 13 different winners for the 16 Chase spots. Elliott holds one of the three remaining Chase spots based on points. He has a 27-point cushion on Ryan Newman, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the playoffs.
Two races remain — next weekend’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the Sept. 10 race at Richmond International Raceway — before the playoff field is set.