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Chase Elliott Grabs Runner Up at Indianapolis

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott meets fans before racing at Indianapolis (Photo: Logan Skidan | The Podium Finish)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Chase Elliott claimed a second-place finish Sunday afternoon on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course after a rally fell short in the closing laps.

With a season filled with roadblocks to success for the No. 9 team, including six missed races because of a broken tibia and a one-race suspension, track position and good finishes have been increasingly vital to Chase Elliott as the regular season winds down. It appeared, from qualifying on Saturday morning, that Elliott would find the speed that has been eluding him this season.

The 27-year-old qualified third, his best starting position for 2023 with a lap time of 88.335 seconds. The Dawsonville, Georgia native stayed inside the top five throughout Stage 1 and secured a third-place finish in the opening segment. The race progressed without stoppages, and after pit strategy played out, finished Stage 2 in fifth.

With 33 laps to go, Elliott pitted along with Michael McDowell, Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick — all of whom ran in the top four. Suarez had a problem on his stop and fell out of contention. Elliott blended behind McDowell in second, just over three seconds behind.

As the laps ticked down and the race remained green, Elliott weaved in and out of lapped traffic but couldn’t make a cut into his deficit on McDowell. With three to go, he finally started gaining ground, but it came too little, too late as McDowell held on by just under a second.

Chase Elliott comes just short of being able to pass Michael McDowell (Photo: Jeremy Bryner | The Podium Finish)

After the race, Elliott reflected on what more he felt he needed to secure the race win and lock himself into the playoffs.

“We just needed to be a little better through the back half of the race, and get off of [Turn] 14 a little better to have myself in a better spot getting into Turn 1,” Elliott said. “Just really appreciate the effort. Our NAPA Chevy was really good, we just needed a little more. We came up just a bit short, but congrats to Michael [McDowell] — man, he did a good job, ran a great race and stayed mistake-free, and that’s what you have to do.

“I just lost too much ground under that pit cycle. I was just trying to pace myself for the long haul — it kind of had that green flag feel. And I thought I did that, just need to do a better job getting through traffic.”

Indianapolis leaves Elliott sitting in the 19th position for points, 80 points below Bubba Wallace on the cutline. McDowell locked into the playoffs with his win.

With two races to go before the end of the regular season, the No. 9 team will need a trip to victory lane at either Watkins Glen or Daytona if the 2020 Cup Series champion is going to participate in the 2023 playoffs.

Road-course racing, however, has always been a strength. He won his first Cup race at Watkins Glen in 2018 and had compiled seven road course victories in his career.

The Go Bowling at The Glen is set for Sunday, August 20 at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Elliott’s teammate, Kyle Larson, has won the last two races in Upstate New York, as well as last year’s Xfinity Series race.

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