Elliott looking for a win in Michigan
When Chase Elliott travels to Michigan International Speedway, he must feel like Sisyphus – the king in Greek mythology forced to roll a boulder up a hill, and when he reaches the pinnacle, the boulder rolls off, forcing him to repeat the process for all of eternity.
The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver has made three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts in the Wolverine State and has finished second all three times.
“It’s great,” Elliott said about the two-mile track, which hosts Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). “It’s also frustrating to have run second every time we have been there. It’s good I guess that we are inside the top five the past few times we have been there, but at the same time that is frustrating to have been pretty close to having a shot to win there, which would have been very big if we could have pulled that out.
Elliott enters Sunday’s contest coming off a series of solid, yet unspectacular performances. He placed 13th last week at Watkins Glen, 10th at Pocono, 39th at Indianapolis due to engine trouble and 11th at New Hampshire. Still he ranks 14th on the playoff grid, 39 points ahead of Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line. Elliott has little margin of error when it comes to making the postseason, but can guarantee himself a playoff berth by grabbing a win at Michigan.
“I like Michigan, I’ve always liked going up there,” Elliott said. “I really love that area. It’s just a cool part of the United States to go to. I like it up there – it’s a nice area and that is kind of why I like going.”
Elliott Sadler is sitting high and mighty atop the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings right now – 52 points ahead of William Byron.
He leads the circuit with five stage wins, but hasn’t visited Victory Lane at the end of a race this season. As a result, he trails the three-race, two-stage winner Byron by 12 playoff points.
A win in Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) would help Sadler close the gap and increase his odds of capturing his first NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
Sadler has finished in the top 10 in all four of his career starts at Mid-Ohio. He has a high finish of sixth at the 13-turn road course (2013, 2015) – the second of three road course races on the XFIN- ITY schedule. The No. 1 Chevrolet driver placed 18th in the first roadcourse race at Watkins Glen last Saturday.
“Last weekend, we got a good look at what our road course program will be like for these next couple of races,” Sadler said. “With the first road race under our belt, we now know what we can expect. We can really dial in on the handling of our Chevrolet and our strategy. We had a fast car last weekend, just had a little bit of bad luck. I like Mid-Ohio – this weekend should be fun.”
No driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is running better than Christopher Bell right now.
The Oklahoman has won three of the last six six races, including two of the last three. In 12 starts this season, Bell boasts four wins, eight top fives, 11 top 10s and a 5.6 average finish. He ranks first in the Camping World Truck Series standings – 18 points ahead of second- place Johnny Sauter.
Bell will go for a fifth victory in Saturday’s LTI Printing 200 at Michigan International Speedway ( 1 p. m. ET on FS1). He finished 24th in his lone start at the two- mile track last year after an incident on Lap 75.
“I ran really well at Michigan last year until I crashed going for the lead late in the race, so I’m looking forward to going back there this year and trying to redeem myself,” Bell said. “Rudy ( Fugle, crew chief) had a really fast Tundra there last year with William ( Byron) – he and I worked really well together and were able to stay up front most of the race. Michigan is a place that you can’t really drive away from people, so you have to make sure that your truck handles well in the draft. Using all the aero techniques that you have in your arsenal is going to be the key to success this weekend.”
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Chevrolet, leads David Ragan, driver of the #38 Overton’s Ford, and Derrike Cope, driver of the #55 Sundance Vacations Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 30 in Long Pond, Pa.