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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Elliott chasing NASCAR historical past on Watkins Glen return

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Previous to final yr’s cancellation as a consequence of COVID-19, Elliott had received the final two races at Watkins Glen, together with his 2018 victory which was his first profession win.

Ought to he win once more on Sunday, Elliott would be part of NASCAR Corridor of Famers Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon as the one drivers since monitor’s first race in 1957 to win three consecutive occasions on the two.45-mile, seven-turn highway course.

A victory would additionally give him eight highway course wins already in his Cup profession and tie him with one other Corridor of Famer, Tony Stewart, for second all-time at simply 25 years {old}.

“I’m simply excited to be going again. I’m wanting ahead to the problem,” Elliott stated. “Each time you go to the monitor, look, it’s all the time going to be powerful.

“As I’ve stated many occasions earlier than, previous success doesn’t equal future success and I don’t assume that’s any totally different this weekend. I anticipate all people else will likely be higher than they have been final time we have been up there; and we simply attempt to ensure we match it ourselves to have one other shot.”

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He’ll have one other alternative subsequent weekend as nicely, because the sequence makes its inaugural go to to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Street Course. Since 1994, the Cup has run on the long-lasting 2.5-mile oval.

Seven of Elliott’s 13 profession Cup wins have come on highway programs, together with each of his victories up to now this season – at Circuit of the Americas and Street America.

Race winner Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro LLumar

Picture by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Exterior of his Hendrick Motorsports team-mates and his crew chief lauding him as a really technical driver, Elliott isn’t certain why he has developed a particular affinity for highway racing in NASCAR.

“I actually don’t really feel like I do something spectacularly particular, extra, or very totally different at these locations. However once more, we’ve had bundle as an organization,” Elliott stated. “The #9 staff now was once the #24 staff, and Jeff [Gordon] had loads of successes on highway programs.

“Alan [Gustafson, Elliott’s crew chief] has an ideal understanding and a bit of historical past of highway racing, too, previous to NASCAR. So, I really feel like we’ve centered on issues that matter and we’ve developed bundle. However as I all the time say, issues are evolving and altering as time goes, and we’ve obtained to proceed to push and be higher, too.

“We all know our competitors is, and we’ll give it our greatest shot and see the place we stack up this weekend, similar to all the time.”

Elliott is actually not alone with regards to success on highway programs at Hendrick Motorsports.

HMS holds the Cup report for all-time highway course victories with 23, which is 10 greater than next-best Joe Gibbs Racing.

The organisation has received on highway programs with a series-high seven totally different drivers: Gordon (9), Elliott (seven), Tim Richmond (three), Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine. Hendrick additionally has essentially the most highway course stage wins of any staff with 11.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro LLumar

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro LLumar

Picture by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

It’s that company-wide success that Gustafson believes supplies the muse for all HMS drivers to do nicely when makes left and right-hand turns.

“I really feel like if we’re at our greatest, then actually we’re aggressive to win races and championships,” Gustafson stated. “To me, it’s all the time actually been about Hendrick Motorsports optimising what we will management, and [team owner] Mr. [Rick] Hendrick offers us the sources and Chevrolet and all our companions give us what we have to win.

“It’s simply as much as us to optimise it and do what we will internally to be the perfect we will. If we will do this, then no matter what goes on round us, we’re going to be in fine condition.”

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Elliott actually enters the weekend as a favorite, each due to his latest success on the Glen but additionally as a result of he’s received six of the final seven highway course occasions.

However as he has stated many occasions, previous success produces no ensures for what lies forward.

“It’s an ideal honour to be even on the identical web page as Tony or Jeff. Whether or not we will ever get there or not, to even be in the identical sentence, or like I stated, on the identical web page, I believe may be very cool,” Elliott stated.

“It’s been enjoyable and we’re happy with our accomplishments. However we are also hungry for wins and can attempt to do this this weekend.”

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