While a lot of people will try to make you believe so at all costs, especially since its a much more enticing narrative then that of one of the big three winning the title, but these claims don’t hold up statically or momentum wise. Of course momentum can always change and surprises can always happen, but it seems like too much wishful thinking right now.
That’s not to say that Chase Elliott isn’t an immense talent and probably even a first ballot hall of famer, but he doesn’t have all the tools right now to win the championship just yet. Again, that doesn’t mean he can’t accomplish it sometime later, its just that this seasons trends and a couple of other things don’t really point to that being the case.
With that being said and Championship weekend almost upon us, here are five reasons why Chase Elliott isn’t the man to beat for Monster Energy Cup Series title in 2018. As always let us know your thoughts in the comments below and also be sure to tell us what you think the final result will be when all is said and done in Miami.
6 Not aggressive enough
Whether NASCAR fans want to admit it or not, aggressive and Chase Elliott aren’t two things that go together very well. Of course some fans claim that Elliott has ramped up his intensity after last years incident with Denny Hamlin at Martinsville, but there is really nothing that shows Chase Elliott having an uptick in intensity.
Yeah, maybe he races a little more aggressively and sticks up for himself when someone messes with him, but its not lIke Elliott’s going to wreck a guy for the win on the last lap. Unfortunately for Elliott however, there are a plethora of other drivers that would do so, which makes him seem not aggressive enough to get the win in Miami.
5 Manufacturer disadvantage.
Its no secret that Chevrolet has been at a mass disadvantage throughout the 2018 season and while things have looked up after three wins by Chase Elliott, its still no where near what The Fords and The Toyota’s are capable of right now. In fact, with Elliott the only remaining Chevrolet in the final eight, its not even a guarantee that a Chevy makes the final four field
With that in mind and the top three contenders all consisting of either Ford’s or Toyota’s, its really far reaching to think that Chevrolet is just instantly going to be able to turn around their misfortune and come up on top at Homeastead. In the end, its up to fans on what to believe, but it seems at least statistically accurate that Fords and Toyota’s have the advantage here.
4 Final four experience.
What makes anyone think he is going to somehow come out on top against three former champions in Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr or Kevin Harvick. Although there is a chance that one or multiple members of the big three won’t make it to the championship round, but he would still deal with drivers that have better equipment, more experience or both.
Take Kurt Busch for example, who won a championship in 2003 and would definitely be better off equipment wise then that of Elliott. Of course the rest of the options are drivers that haven’t won a championship, but if you look at Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer, they all have the advantage of a superior manufacturer and in some cases a better record.
3 Hasn’t won straight up yet.
Chase Elliott has accomplished a lot throughout the 2018 season, including nabbing three wins, staying consistent week after week and even qualifying for the round of eight for the second straight year in a row. While none of those statistics are anything to bat an eye at, they all come with the caveat of Elliott never winning straight up.
In fact, all three of Elliott’s wins have been due to pit strategy or fuel strategy, which is great, but tis not going to help him in a straight up race against whoever manages to also make the final four. Then again, maybe Elliott can get lucky like Jimmie Johnson did when he won the championship out of nowhere in 2016, but that has been the exception and not the rule.
2 The hole
Win and you’re in a simple concept and has helped elevated the sport of NASCAR in ways that were previously thought impossible. Not only did it create a do or die nature throughout the season and the playoffs that has been unmatched, it is also the most legitimate way to win yourself a championship at the end of the year.
With that being said and the massive hole Chase Elliott now finds himself in after being a non factor at Martinsville, he is most likely going to have win in order to make it to the final four. Of course some fans are still hopeful that he will be able to do so, especially with tracks like Phoenix and Texas still on the calendar, but one has to remember that Elliott hasn’t won a race straight up yet.
In the end, that means Elliott’s only chance at making it to the final four rests with his ability to either win straight up, which hasn’t happened yet, or fall into a situation where they can win on strategy. Whether either of those two things happen or not remains to be seen and will be dependent on how the next two races play out, but don’t expect Elliot t win straight up.
1 Not a great homestead record.
Even if Chase Elliott does manage to overcome a 30 point deficit and make his way into the final four at Homestead Miami , he is stil going to have to overcome a less than steller record at the track in order to win the title. In fact, statistically speaking, Chase Elliott is behind several of his championship competitors when it comes to Homestead Miami.
For example, if you look at driver averages over the last two races at Homestead Miami, you will see that Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano all have better records than he does. Of course if you take a look at the all time win list and look at those averages, Elliott stands second to Kevin Harvick, but even that’s not that great of a situation.
With that being said, the winner of The Championship the last four years has been the driver that has won the race and it honestly dose’t feel like Chase Elliott is capable of that yet. Maybe that would be different if drivers like Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer or Kurt Busch were the other contenders in the final three, but not up agaisnt the big three and Joey Logano.