Chase Elliott had to battle Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps of last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen on the way to scoring his first career Cup win. But, it was the manner in which he passed one of the other Big 3 drivers, Kyle Busch, on Lap 27 that is etched in the memories of fellow drivers Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill.
Kligerman and Cassill took time to break down Elliott’s pass on Busch in Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
Elliott had the faster car, but that does not always translate into getting the lead.
While maintaining his position in Busch’s aerodynamic wake so that he could take advantage of the slightest mistake was the mark of the superiority of the No. 9, it was Elliott’s ability to get his car to handle in dirty air that ultimately made the difference.
“(Elliott) put the pressure on and eventually he makes the pass,” Kligerman said. “This is textbook at Watkins Glen – putting the pressure on. You do that by being right on their rear bumper. Making them nervous. … Because then it just forces Kyle (Busch) to just drive a little harder in the braking zone.”
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Busch has been one of the dominant drivers in 2018, but that does not mean he is impervious to pressure. His crew kept encouraging Busch to run his own race and not worry about the No. 9 – that Elliott would make a mistake, but that was not enough to keep Busch from making a slight bobble in Turn 6.
“It is mental on Kyle Busch to look in his rearview mirror into every braking zone and see that big car filling out (his) entire rearview mirror,” Cassill said. “He’s a tough guy for sure, but that will get in your head lap after lap.”
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