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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Elliott laments lacking NASCAR playoffs, Wallace “relieved” to seal last spot

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The Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet driver missed out on the playoffs for the primary time since becoming a member of the Cup Collection in 2016 after failing to safe the win he wanted to progress.

Bubba Wallace subsequently secured the sixteenth and last spot on factors, leaving 2020 champion Elliott unable to finish this 12 months greater than seventeenth.

Elliott holds the fifth-best common end amongst full-time drivers this 12 months, however his season was compromised by lacking six races because of a leg injury sustained in a snowboarding accident. He then missed a seventh after being suspended for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin at Charlotte, which put him right into a must-win state of affairs as he was unlikely to make the minimize on factors.

A fourth-place end at Daytona was a great day by itself, however not what he wanted.

Elliott defined he was unable to “keep locked onto Kevin [Harvick] like I wanted to to surge the underside lane ahead” within the closing phases as RFK Racing team-mates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski controlled the top lane to secure a 1-2 finish

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Elliott could also be out of the motive force’s playoffs, however his automotive stays within the combat for the championship on proprietor’s factors.

“That is a giant deal, most likely a lot greater than lots of people realise to our staff,” he stated.

“Wanting ahead to those subsequent 10. Attempt to make a bit of noise on that aspect of issues and simply attempt to prepare and ready for subsequent 12 months.

Elliott pushed Harvick within the closing phases however could not get to the entrance

Photograph by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

“However I admire everyone’s assist by way of this season. Hasn’t been what I’d need by any means.

“Actually going to be some classes taken from it, and I believe we’ll be higher for it on the opposite finish.”

Reflecting on reaching the playoffs for the primary time in his profession, having joined the Cup Collection full-time in 2018, 23XI Racing Toyota driver Wallace admitted to feeling “harassed” through the race.

He entered Saturday’s race at Daytona with the sixteenth and last playoff spot inside his fingers, however Elliott and 15 others may knock Wallace out of the operating with a victory.

However a repeat winner in Buescher meant twelfth was sufficient for Wallace, who joins team-mate Tyler Reddick within the spherical of 16.

“That was essentially the most harassed but in addition essentially the most locked in I’ve ever been,” he stated.

“Figuring out that this place is usually out of your management, I simply tried to concentrate on doing the issues that I may do.”

He added: “I’m simply relieved. I apologised to my spouse (Amanda) all week. I haven’t been myself – I’ve been stressing.

“Grateful that we’re in it. That’s the most calm I’ve ever been. It’s ass-backwards.

Wallace admitted he'd been stressed in the build up to the Daytona race

Wallace admitted he’d been harassed within the construct as much as the Daytona race

Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“You come to Daytona, and also you focus a lot on controlling the issues you could management. My cussed ass by no means desires to take heed to folks telling me that. I lastly did that, and we’re locked in.”

Amongst those that congratulated him after the race was 23XI Racing staff co-owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

Wallace will enter the playoffs in sixteenth place after the reset with zero bonus factors. Positions thirteenth by way of sixteenth might be eradicated after the third race of the playoffs, which incorporates Kansas Speedway the place Wallace is the defending winner.

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