Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney feeling rookie growing pains as playoffs loom
After early-season success, the summer months have been tough for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.
Elliott’s last top-10 finish came at Michigan International Speedway in June where he finished second to Joey Logano. Since then, he’s accumulated results of 21st, 32nd, 31st and 34th.
After Blaney’s fifth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in May — his highest finish of the year — he’s only cracked the top 10 twice.
Things didn’t get much better for either driver in Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard, as Chase Elliott was able to manage a 15th-place finish, while Blaney was caught up in a six-car crash with seven laps remaining.
"I didn’t really see much. Unfortunately, I got back there and I didn’t see who got together," Blaney said after finishing 36th on Sunday. "I thought we had a decent car. We kind of put ourselves in a hole and we were trying to fight back from that and this just made a bad day worse. We’ll just go to Pocono next week and try to get better."
And that’s exactly what Blaney needs to do in order to have a shot at making the Chase for the Sprint Cup with six races remaining before the cutoff.
After Indianapolis, Blaney, driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, now finds himself 19th in the points standings, 12 points behind Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne in the 16th and final Chase spot.
As for Elliott, he’s able to breathe slightly easier compared to his fellow competitor and friend. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver is currently 11th in the standings with a 63-point cushion on teammate Kahne.