How improbable would this scenario be, Chase Elliott is racing for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. That’s a tall task in itself, especially since he has just six playoff points this season. But, what if I said he can get there without having to win a race too?
Yes, a driver that not only didn’t win a race this season, at all, he also hasn’t won a race during his two year career either and there he can still be battling for a title in November. That would be absurd to think about normally. In this day and age, wins mean more now than ever before. Heck, if three different drivers in the Round of 8 win over the next three weeks, that leaves just one wildcard spot open. With no wins and just six playoff points, how in the world would that be Elliott’s for the taking?
Elliott, has been very good at all three tracks in this round lately. He finished third at Martinsville earlier this season. Also, he’s started inside the top 10 in three straight races there. So, stage points and a top five finish could certainly close that gap between him and the others with more playoff points entering this round. Plus, it’s not like Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. have shined there in recent years either.
Then, it’s onto Texas where Elliott has finishes of fifth, fourth and ninth respectively there. Again, stage points and a top five, maybe even another runner-up finish could put him in a great position come Phoenix.
At Phoenix back in March, he led 106 laps and finished 12th. In his two previous starts there, he came home eighth and ninth respectively. So, mix that with a strong playoff run this season, three races ending in a runner-up effort, and there’s optimism to why Elliott and his No. 24 Chevrolet team could be advancing to Homestead on points alone.
You want a thorn in the side of this new revolutionized format, let Elliott get to the final round and even win a championship without ever winning a race in his career yet.
It could happen too.