Chase Elliott hopes June will make him forget tough month of May

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It’s been a rough month for Chase Elliott.

From Richmond to last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, Elliott has finished no higher than 24th in the last four points races:

Richmond: Finished 24th (due primarily to an uncontrolled tire late in the race).

Talladega: Finished 30th (involved in the big one, climbed the wall in the wreck).

Kansas: Finished 29th (contact with Michael McDowell on pit road early in the race, never was able to recover).

Charlotte: Finished 38th (ran into oil and debris from Jeffrey Earnhardt’s car, and was then wrecked from behind by Brad Keselowski, who couldn’t stop fast enough).

During that time, the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has dropped from second place heading into Richmond to seventh in the points after Charlotte.

“I don’t know that I have had an entire month be quite as rough as May has,” Elliott said Friday at Dover International Speedway. “I definitely have had things like that happen over time, but I just don’t know that it’s all been back-to-back to back like it seems like it has been here lately.

“I don’t like using the term ‘bad luck,’ but I guess some of it has been, so to speak. I’m not real sure what you call it, but the big thing for us is you got to keep trying to stay high on what you have going on, try to run well.”

The only saving grace for Elliott during that whole time was earning the fan vote that got him into the Monster Energy All-Star Race, where he finished seventh.

But then, that was a non-points race, so it doesn’t count in the big picture of the 36-race NASCAR Cup season.

However, there’s positive news heading into this weekend: Elliott finished third in both Cup races at Dover last year.

To say he’s been looking forward to this race is an understatement.

“It was a rough whole month of May really for us,” Elliott said. “We are happy to see June here and just kind of a shot to try to improve and get some good solid finishes if nothing else or really just finish would be good.

“That is our goal this weekend to try not to have anything stupid happen, finish and hopefully just try to move on down the road and try to get some just solid days, just good experience, execution and just exercise all the parts of the race that you have to do to run well and compete to win.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammate and seven-time NASCAR Cup champ Jimmie Johnson can relate to the frustration Elliott has gone through recently.

“There are certain racing things that drivers and teams look at to see if maybe we could control that,” Johnson said of Elliott. “What happened to him in the 600 was definitely one of those scenarios.

“And he opened the season so strong and was carrying the banner for Hendrick Motorsports. He and I haven’t had any deep conversations on it other than man, that’s bad luck. And I expect he and the No. 24 team to rally back and be up front and winning; hopefully winning their first race very soon.”

 

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