Chase Elliott was able to race his way into the Round of 8 thanks to his second-place finish in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Elliott trailed race winner Denny Hamlin across the finish line for the runner-up performance that was good enough to put him into the next round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in addition to the 15 stage points he earned in the race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver came into the weekend 22 points below the cutline.
Elliott is the fifth driver to race his way into the Round of 8 and has made it this far in the championship three straight seasons.
“If you ever get to Homestead, you’re going to have to fight for a win down there,” Elliott said. “Proud of the effort. Learned a lot. To be able to come out here and, like I said, in our minds have to win, come and fight for one, to finish second, I think is step in the right direction for us. So excited to move on.”
Elliott made up ground in the late going of the race including through a pair of overtime finishes. His goal was to win the race and not concerned about points to continue his playoff advance.
“I was trying to make a run at Denny,” Elliott explained. “We never got our momentum up enough for me to do anything about it. The restarts were helping his cause on tires.
“The good news was the bottom lane rolled good enough on the last restart to at least get back to second. So, I appreciate the effort. We were really struggling there at one point in the race. You have to stay fighting in these things, especially with these late race restarts.”
Elliott is now the sixth seed as the points reset and he sets his sights on trying to make it to the Champion 4 finale.
“A total team effort,” he said. “Get to move on, get to reset the points, put those three wins that we had in the bank, use those points for the Round of 8.”