With only four races remaining until the Monster Energy Series playoffs begin for NASCAR, drivers, including Dawsonville’s Chase Elliott, are feeling the pressure to make the cut.
Elliott finished 13th over the weekend in New York.
Were the playoffs to begin today, Elliott would be in on his points qualifications with two stage wins putting him at the No. 10 spot in the cup standings.
Elliott is currently the highest ranked of the three qualifiers who have not yet won a race in 2017. One win from another first-time winner and a poor race would take him out of contention.
On Aug. 6, Elliott began the day from the No. 4 spot in his SunEnergy Chevrolet SS in the I Love New York 355 at The Glen.
He ran in fourth and moved up a spot for a third place finish of the first stage of the race. Kyle Busch won the stage.
Elliott’s position gave him eight points and he was able to take the lead after a caution around lap 24 of the 90 on the final road course race of the season.
He stayed in the top spot on the restart and led for nine laps before a 16 plus second pit stop on the Watkins Glen “backwards” pit row.
The stop during green-flag racing landed Elliott in 18th at the end of stage two.
He was able to restart the final stage from position 14 and pitted for four tires and gas in a debris caution on lap 53. Elliott picked up five spots with a fast pit stop and restarted in ninth.
While he was able to maintain his top 10 spot, fuel became an issue for many of the drivers including Elliott. With nine laps remaining, Crew Chief Alan Gustafson made the call for a pit stop and fuel.
When Elliott returned to the track he was in 18th. He was able to pick up five spots and finish 13th. He remains at the No. 7 spot in regular season drivers’ standings.
He will race next week in the Pure Michigan 400. It will be broadcast at 3 p.m. on Aug. 13 from the Michigan International Speedway on NBCSN.
Elliott was runner up at the track in June when he finished .993 seconds behind Kyle Larson.