Chase Elliott’s hopes for championship run end early in Phoenix

Chase Elliott had a chance.  The Hendrick Motorsports driver needed nothing short of a win to advance to the Championship 4 in Miami Sunday. For a while Elliott looked as though he might pull it off, or least have a shot at it.

After starting sixth, Elliott ran as high as second finishing there in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2. But shortly after the start of the third and final stage, and shortly after racing hard with Denny Hamlin for the second spot,  Elliott’s Chevrolet appeared to lose a left rear tire; the car spun and impacted the wall hard between turns 1 and 2 on lap 167, ending his day, his race, and his hope for a championship run in 2019.

The crash ended a disastrous Round of 8 for Elliott. After coming into the round only six points behind the cutoff he had a broken axle leave him with a 36th place finish at Martinsville. The following week in Texas an early mistake caused him to spin and crash and all he could salvage was a 32nd place.

“It’s just a continuation of our first two weeks, unfortunately,” Elliott said of his early exit Sunday. “It was really tough in traffic to catch guys and then pass and whatnot. But I feel like we were in a good position to run solid. I’m not sure why we had a tire go down. I think that’s what happened, at least; it seemed like it”

“Hopefully Homestead goes better and we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next year,” Elliott said.