Chase Elliott was unduly hard on himself after Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session at Pocono Raceway.
After wrecking his car in opening practice, Elliott drove a backup during time trials. Though he posted the 23rd fastest lap, he’ll have to drop to the rear of the field for the start of the race because of the switch to the backup.
For Elliott, the qualifying effort was just another link in an unfavorable chain of events.
“We sucked today,” was Elliott’s summation. “We crashed a car, and it put us in a bad position for tomorrow (Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“That pretty much set us up for failure by crashing that first car. That’s just kind of the way it goes. When you make stupid mistakes and qualify really bad, it results in bad pit selection and bad track position. We’ll try to make the most of it.”
Kyle Larson, who crashed 10 minutes into opening practice and also went to a backup, was much more sanguine about his prospects on Sunday.
“It just seemed slower, like the balance is crazy different than the other car,” said Larson, who was 29th fastest in time trials.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t be trying.
“There’s always different strategies and things,” Larson said. “As (team owner) Chip (Ganassi) says, there’s a right strategy to win every race for every car. Maybe we’ll figure out that strategy and be able to have a good day.”