Once again, Chase Elliott’s past performances helped him in the long run — this time after finishing 21st at the South Point 400 Round of 8 playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The only silver lining on a disappointing day in the desert was the points advantage Elliott had accrued through four regular season wins and the playoff win at Talladega two weeks ago.
Going into the Round of 8 opener at Las Vegas, Elliott had 46 playoff points and led the field by 20 points.(Story continues below)
But the nearest driver to him heading into the race — Joey Logano — would eventually find victory lane at Vegas and become the first driver to secure a place in the Championship 4.
Starting in 20th position, Elliott could only move up as far as 13th before spending the majority of his day right around where he finished.
He could hardly be blamed for already having Miami on his mind postrace.
“I just did a really bad job,” Elliott said. [We were] obviously missing something at a place like this to compete with the gentlemen who know what they’re doing. Homestead’s definitely different but I need to re-evaluate myself in general to have a shot next week.”
Despite picking up just 16 points from the race, Elliott remains third among the eight remaining playoff drivers. He now sits one point behind Ross Chastain, who finished in second behind Logano at Las Vegas.
Elliott is 11 points clear of Denny Hamlin, who is currently the final driver above the Championship 4 cut line.
Below him are William Byron, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney and Christopher Bell.
Bell, who won at the Roval last week, had his Vegas run cut short after becoming caught in the crossfire of a retaliatory move made by Bubba Wallace on Kyle Larson.
Elliott and the No. 9 team will look to bounce back at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday, Oct. 23. The race will be at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.