BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chase Elliott enters the Bristol race weekend in the second position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. The second-year driver at Hendrick Motorsports has run well early on in the 2017 season but has yet to close the deal and find himself in victory lane.
In two career MENCS starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliott has tallied finishes of 15th (fall 2016) and 4th (spring 2016). Elliott will start the Food City 500 in the second position as qualifying was canceled due to rain and the starting lineup was set by virtue of the points standings.
On Friday, Elliott addressed the media at BMS and discussed his outlook and approach for the weekend’s race. One of the many topics that he spoke in reference to was that of the VHT or “grip strip” as drivers have aptly named it. For those that are not as familiar with VHT, it a resin material that track officials apply to the race track to enhance the grip levels that drivers and their cars experience on the track.
The VHT compound was first used at Bristol during the 2016 season in response to driver feedback that there was only one true racing groove around the historic half-mile. The application of the resin to the bottom lane of the track allows for the second line of racing, while the preferred line of choice through the corners is in the middle of the track.
Elliott provided his thoughts on the VHT, stating, “If that’s back down, which is definitely a key factor and as it rains, I think that things can change and the grip level changes. I think last fall is a great indicator of what you’re going to see this weekend”.
While the VHT discussion was a hot topic on Friday, Chase provided some insight into what it would take for him to win his first career Cup Series race and at Bristol no less.
When asked what if there were things he had learned in his previous races at Bristol that he could apply to this weekend that would translate into a victory, Elliott responded, “I kinda look back more at the spring race last year. I feel like we had a better handle on the race track, I think I had a better handle on what I was doing. So I’m going to kind look back at some of the things I was doing then to try and translate to this weekend”.
The weather at Bristol Motor Speedway has been less than desirable so far this weekend and with the forecast for Sunday looking ominous, a postponement to Monday is highly likely. Elliott noted that given conditions for this weekend are similar to that of last year’s spring race, referring to notes from then will help especially if the race is run during the daytime.
Regardless of when the race is run, Elliott seems hopeful and optimistic of his chances for a successful run. The Dawsonville, GA. native finished final practice on Saturday in the fourth position.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Huff, ApertureOne.net