Chase Elliott is doing his best Jimmie Johnson impression right now. All regular season long, Elliott just stayed under the radar and was getting himself ready for a playoff run. Sound familiar?
That’s Johnson’s strategy each year. This season though, that’s exactly what Elliott has done. In five playoff races, Elliott has a runner-up finish in three of them. In fact, Elliott has led 218 laps over the last five races. In the 20 previous races, he had just three total top five finishes and led 15 laps.
Furthermore, from Fontana in March, through Richmond in September, Elliott led a combined 39 laps.
From Chicagoland on Sept. 17 through Talladega on Oct. 15, Elliott has led 218 laps.
See where I’m coming from now?
The big thing for this weekend at the Kansas Speedway is can Elliott keep this going. Currently, he sits sixth in the playoff standings, 20 points ahead of the cutoff. Take Talladega out of it, and you see that Elliott has a worst finish of 11th since Darlington. Now, he’d like to advance to the Round of 8 and take that crazy amount of momentum with him.
But, Kansas hasn’t been a very good track to Elliott over the course of his brief career. While he has five top fives in nine starts on intermediate tracks in 2017, Elliott has just one top 25 finish in three Kansas starts. His three finishes there are ninth, 31st and 29th respectively. He’s also led just four total laps on the 1.5-mile track.
He doesn’t want to revert to those stats and lose all his momentum now. While he has just six playoff points, he wants to gain as much momentum as possible heading to the next round and keeping rattling off good finishes.
That’s all his focus is on at the moment.