Chase Elliott’s confidence remains as team seeks first win of year

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RICHMOND, Va. — While Chase Elliott is the only driver at Hendrick Motorsports who has not won a Cup race this season, he enters Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox) as the points leader.

It’s been that kind of a season for Elliott, who has finished 11th or better in each of the last four races, while watching teammates Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and William Byron win. 

Elliott, though, isn’t fretting what his season has been like.

“I felt we’ve been solid at times,” he said Saturday after qualifying 15th. “I feel like other than Vegas, I felt like there’s been signs of pace for us, we just haven’t put a whole day together, unfortunately. Didn’t qualify very good today either. Hopefully (Sunday) goes better.”

Twice in the last five seasons the eventual Cup champion did not win for the first time that year before the eighth race. Elliott won his first race of the season in the eighth race in 2020. Joey Logano won his first race of the year in the 10th race in 2018. Sunday’s race at Richmond is the seven race of this season. 

Even though Elliott has not won, he’s run toward the front throughout races. 

His 52 stage points rank third this season, behind only Ryan Blaney (58 stage points) and Byron (55).

While he continues to look to put together a full race, Elliott is mindful not to overreact that his team hasn’t done so.

“Look, it’s April 2,” The 2020 Cup champion said. “This deal pays in November. We’ve got a long ways to go, and I feel like we have a great team and that’s the part of the year we want to be prepared for the most. 

“We want to win, we want to gain as many bonus points as we can, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of racing to be done.”

Chase Elliott’s results this season

Daytona 500 – 10th (0 laps led)

Auto Club – 26th (12 laps led)

Las Vegas – 9th (0 laps led)

Phoenix – 11th (50 laps led)

Atlanta – 6th (29 laps led)

COTA – 4th (0 laps led)