Chase Elliott did not have a great day at Homestead Miami
Chase Elliott might be the defending Cup Series champion, but he has a long way to go if he wants to retain his title. After finishing second in the Daytona 500, 21st at the road course, and 14th at Homestead-Miami, his season has been a mixed bag.
He dropped out of the top-ten in the first stage of the Dixie Vodka 400, finishing 13th. Chase Elliott recovered to finish 8th in the second stage, but he never really had a strong enough car to compete at the top of the pack. He kept getting shuffled back on restarts, which had to be frustrating for the 25-year-old American.
William Byron won in the same equipment Sunday afternoon, making for a very confusing outcome. It raises questions about why Chase Elliott is so far off his teammates, and what it will take to catch-up.
Chase Elliott was the worst finishing driver in the entire Hendrick Motorsports squad. For a team that is defending their first championship, they are going to need more from Chase Elliott.
After the race, William Byron spoke about the importance of winning:
“Yeah, it’s huge. In this format with winning being so important, it’s nice to chase points at times, but yeah, no doubt we were in a huge hole. The (Daytona) 500, we had a lot of success going down there for qualifying and was excited about the 500 and then we get crashed early and almost flip over and then we go to the road course and we had probably a top-10 run going, which was going to be good, and we had some issues.
Chase Elliott is a better driver than what he is showing right now. It was only the first cookie-cutter race of the season, giving him plenty of time to catch up before the playoffs start. There are also multiple road course races where he performs better and could take the win.
Chase Elliott and his team need to get better at the 1.5-mile tracks if they want a chance at making the playoffs and defending the title.