With six races to go before the end of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Chase Elliott finds himself in a tight spot. Elliott’s 2023 campaign was marred by injuries and racing mishaps that left him battling for the final playoff spots.
After missing six races with a leg injury and serving a racing ban, the #9 Hendrick Motorsports driver currently sits 23rd in the drivers standings, 60 points from the cut-off line. Despite the grim situation, rival Denny Hamlin says Elliott will still make the playoffs.
Hamlin, who previously predicted Chase Elliott would be in the playoffs, still believes it. The No. 11 Toyota driver believes Elliott will win a race in the remainder of the regular season to book his playoff spot.
“Do I feel hot and fuzzy about my prediction now? He’s done me no favors, that’s for sure,” Hamlin said on his Harmful Actions podcast.
“He always makes it. I’m going to die on this hill, Chase Elliott will always make it, but I think it will be because he wins. Chase Elliott fans hold hands. We will, unite And we ‘ Is this going to happen for you guys? he added.
With 11 different race winners already securing a playoff spot and three drivers far ahead in points, NASCAR’s most popular driver must fight for the remaining two spots. His most likely way to get into the playoffs is to win a race, rather than fight his way out.
Of the six remaining sites NASCAR heads to in the regular season, Chase Elliott’s odds are highest in road racing. However, given the recent influx of road course ringers, his chances are slim.
The 2020 Cup Series champion will travel to Pocono Raceway this weekend, where he claimed victory last year. With a win at Pocono, Elliott could change the fate of his wayward 2023 campaign.
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Hendrick Motorsports VP outlines Chase Elliott’s playoff chances
Hendrick Motorsports has two drivers under the cut line with Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott at 20th and 23rd. HMS Vice Chairman Chad Knaus claimed that with six races remaining, both drivers had a 20% chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
“I’ll stick to my 20%, a nice round number,” Chad said on NASCAR Race Hub. “I think you know there are a lot of guys below the cut line. Two of ours mainly, who are hungry and I think they have a good opportunity. But that other 80 is the pitch, right? So I think it’s going to be a challenge but I think it’s doable,” Knaus said.
Although the odds are not favoring either driver, Knaus remains hopeful assuring his drivers can qualify for the playoffs.