Chase Elliott isn’t over what happened a week ago at Martinsville.
After he was wrecked by Denny Hamlin as the two were racing for the lead, Elliott and Hamlin had a conversation when they got out of their cars. Then, in an NBC interview, Ellitt said he was on to Texas, the site of Sunday’s race.
That doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about what happened at Martinsville. And how could he? Texas Motor Speedway waged a full-scale promotional appeal around Elliott in the hours after the Martinsville race, even going so far as to call the driver of the No. 24 the “People’s Champion.”
“Yeah, definitely kind of strange,” Elliott said of a billboard with his face on it at the track. “You know, as far as last week goes, I don’t know that my thoughts today are a whole lot different than they were then. I am still pretty frustrated about it and you know, as long as the week has gone along it has given me a lot of time to think about how close we were to going to Homestead.”
“I think if anything else that will drive you up the wall more if you think about it. Definitely not happy about it and I don’t think a whole lot has changed. But no, I am not going to answer your questions about whether I am going to get [Hamlin] back or not. Don’t even ask because you are not going to hear it from me. Just don’t go there.”
Revenge at a track like Texas would be hard to pull off, anyway. With speeds over 190 MPH, aerodynamics are at a premium. And contact with another driver is just as liable to cause the avenging driver damage as it is to spin the victim out. That’s not a recipe for success.
And who knows if Elliott and Hamlin will find themselves near each other on Sunday anyway. Hamlin is starting second while Elliott will start 34th after his car failed to get through inspection on time to turn a qualifying lap.
Sitting 27 points outside of the top four, Elliott knows he’s probably needing a win at Texas or Phoenix to have a chance at the championship at Homestead on Nov. 19. He made sure to note that teammate Jimmie Johnson won the spring race at Texas after having to start at the rear of the field following his team’s qualifying non-attempt.
“So, I think if you have your car driving good and you do the right things all day; we see it every weekend where guys face diversity throughout the race and get caught speeding on pit road and have a penalty on pit road and go to the back and it seems like the guys that are good enough, you see them again in your mirror in about a run and a half,” Elliott said. “So, I think it’s definitely doable if we all do our part tomorrow, and go from there.”
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