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Chase Elliott gives takeaways from Bristol: 'Really hope that we can find some middle ground'

Stephen Samraby:Steve Samra03/23/24


Chase Elliott
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Elliott was a fan of Sunday’s race at Bristol, but he doesn’t believe the afternoon was without it’s flaws.

Joining this week’s episode of The Dale Jr Download, Elliott took some time to elaborated on the changes he saw on the track, from prior Bristol races to Sunday’s showdown.

“I think there’s a few things that are definitely going to get lost in translation,” Elliott delineated. “One, when you have tire wear, you don’t have these catastrophic blowouts, you knew something was wrong. Most of the time when we have tire failures, you’re just cruising along like normal and next thing you know, pop, you lost a tire. So I think that’s an important piece of it, is you’re hurting something, because you have tire wear, so you need to stop or start guarding against it, or a failure is coming. I think that’s an important piece of not having big blowout-type crashes.

“The grip level was so low — there was grip, but you had to go so slow not to hurt your tire. It took the aero out of it, which I thought was really fun. Because I mean, gosh, we could be all over each other. Up on each other’s doors. You could actually get to someone’s bumper.”

Elliott was a fan of the way tire wear changed the racing last weekend, but he confessed that it needs to be a little more controlled. Still, he’s hoping NASCAR doesn’t go too far in the other direction following the success of the event.

“I hope they don’t overreact, I guess is what I’m getting at, because it was really refreshing,” the former NASCAR champion added. “You know, we were — we took the aero side out of it, to a point that was reasonable, and I just thought it was in the driver’s hands way more than it than it typically is. I wasn’t as excited about going back, because we had obviously done a lot of race review from from the fall, and I’m like ‘God,’ I mean even some of the guys that were really, really good, got stuck back in the traffic and had a penalty, and guys that I would have expected to get their way back for just got stuck. You know, and that sucks. I mean, it really does. I think that sucks for everybody. So I really hope that we can find some middle ground in all of this.

“There’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere. Because the race was too entertaining, and in a good way. You know, we weren’t crash and a bunch of stuff. Tearing each other up. I mean yes, there were some wrecks. But once people learned where the tire was gonna go and what was going to happen, you learn which tire you were hurting and what the car felt like when you had excessive wear, everyone kind of started living inside that box. I thought NASCAR letting that last run go green, I thought it was great. I would have been super thrilled as a fan. So I hope everybody was, and more importantly, I hope that you know, NASCAR and Goodyear and everybody just doesn’t overreact. Please take a lesson from this, and try to make our product better, because it told me that we can make it really good.”

It remains to be seen how NASCAR reacts, but Chase Elliott is sure happy to be going road course racing this weekend. He has a chance to end his lengthy winless streak, as COTA is up next for the Cup Series.