In 2017, Chase Elliott was at or near his best on 1.5-mile tracks. Out of 11 starts last season on these type of tracks, Elliott grabbed nine top 10 finishes. When the playoffs begun, he turned up the wick even further. Exactly half of the 10 playoff races took place on 1.5-mile tracks. Elliott, finished in the top five in four of them, including a runner-up finish at both the Chicagoland Speedway and again in Charlotte a few weeks later. He was fourth at Kansas and fifth in the season finale at Homestead as well.
But, in five starts on the same 1.5-mile tracks in 2018, Elliott hasn’t been as strong. His best finish is 10th in Atlanta, a race he was pretty much a non factor in all day. This year’s stats on 1.5-mile tracks are seeing him finish between 10th through 12th. In those five starts, he has four top 12 finishes.
That’s pretty much his status quo for the season too. In 10 of his last 11 starts on the year, Elliott has taken his No. 9 Chevrolet to a top 12 finish.
Can he improve on that in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 (2:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network)?
Elliott, has typically been strong in Chicago. In two career starts on the 1.5-mile track, Elliott has finished in the top three in both of them. He led 75 Laps in his rookie season in 2016 and 42 more last year. He even won an XFINITY Series race in Chicago in 2014.
On Saturday, Elliott was fourth fastest in the first of two practice sessions then qualified his car third.
Now, he’s aiming to buck the 2018 trend and become more like he was in 2017. He’s on the good side of the playoff grid and he’d like to remain that way.