Something’s gotta give for Chase Elliott eventually.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver will make his 88th Cup start this weekend and it will be his 88th attempt to earn his first Cup victory.
The start comes at Dover International Speedway, the track where he’s enjoyed his most success in his first three seasons of Cup competition and came the closest to earning a win.
“I have been fortunate to have some good runs at Dover over the past couple of years,” Elliott said in a media release. “Obviously, haven’t won a race there, but it’s been a solid track. Hopefully, it will continue to be solid for us and me. But there are definitely other tracks that have been more of a struggle.”
The 22-year-old driver has made four starts at the 1-mile track. And in each one, Elliott has placed in the top five. Outside Chicagoland Speedway (two starts), it’s the only track where Elliott has finished in the top five in each start.
And the most recent one probably stings the most.
Despite top fives in his previous three starts there, it wasn’t until last October’s race at the “Monster Mile” that Elliott led a lap at the facility where his father, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, won four times.
Elliott started 12th and proceeded to lead 138 laps, leading for the first time on Lap 83. After placing seventh in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2, Elliott then led twice over the final 153 laps.
He led Laps 247- 324 (78 total) and took the lead for the last time on Lap 340. For the next 59 laps the race looked like Elliott’s to lose.
Then like a heat-seeking missile, Kyle Busch tracked Elliott down in the closing laps as he battled lap traffic.
It came to a head when Busch passed Elliott on the outside as they exited Turn 4 to take the white flag.
A lap later, Elliott had to settle for the fifth runner-up finish of his career. Since then, he’s placed second three more times.
The most recent was two races ago at Richmond, where placed behind Busch. He heads to Dover after a third-place finish at Talladega.
Here’s who Chase Elliott has finished second to.
Kyle Busch – 2
Kyle Larson – 2
Martin Truex Jr. – 2
Joey Logano – 1
Matt Kenseth – 1