Chase Elliott says he has put in effort to be better this time around at Talladega Superspeedway and is committed to being more aggressive than he has been in an effort to win Sunday’s GEICO 500, and if he is able to pull off the win he’ll become the fourth and final Hendrick Motorsports driver to find victory lane in 2022.
With a quarter of the season done and over with, William Byron leads the series with two wins, while Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman have a win apiece.
Elliott, 26, said in his weekly media availability that rest assured he wants to win a race. But that the pressure of not winning isn’t impacting his ability to close out wins.
“Look, I want to win just as much as everybody else, if not more,” the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion said. “Yeah, look, I always want to win. And I always have an expectation on myself to go and perform. That expectation is the only one that matters to me. And I want to do my job to the best of my ability as always. Whether you have a win in the bank or not. For me, that doesn’t make me try any harder. I’m going to do my best and see where we end up.”
While he would obviously like to have a win, or multiple wins already, Elliott finds a silver lining in the fact that the No. 9 team has had fast race cars and they have strung along a line of consistency through the opening nine races of the season.
“I think it’s been solid,” Elliott said of his season so far. “We talk about this a lot. You know? There’s been times where we’ve had a lot of pace. There’s been times when we haven’t. Unfortunately, on the days where we have had pace, we just haven’t put a whole race together. If you want to win, that’s what you have to do. I think we’ve been solid. There’s obviously a lot of racing left.”
How consistent has Elliott been? His solid finishing positions and his knack for scoring Stage Points has led to the Dawsonville, Georgia-native leading the point standings, currently. If Elliott can hang on to the point lead through the regular season conclusion, he’ll be rewarded with 15 Playoff Points, as is the reward for the regular season champion.
It would take three wins to amass that many Playoff Points. Needless to say, the regular season crown is on Elliott’s mind.
“Proud of us being able to get stage points and at least achieve that side of things. That hasn’t really been something that we’ve done a very good job of in the course of my first handful of seasons,” Elliott admitted. “So, that’s kind of cool. We’d love to stay in the fight there and try to get those 15 points come the end of the regular season, that would be great. Obviously, it would be nice to have some wins on top of that too. That puts you in the best position you can be in. So, hopefully we can capitalize on some of that stuff.”
Elliott will start from the 28th position in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500. Of course, starting position means very little at Superspeedway racing, but if Elliott can avoid the inevitable carnage, you’d expect he’d be in the mix to score that first win of the 2022 season.