Redemption might be on the mind of reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott as he prepares to race in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Speedway. Elliott, who will make his second Sprint Cup Series start, will have the opportunity to have a turn around from his Cup Series debut, as it did not go as he would have liked.
Elliott had made his debut during last month’s race at Martinsville — the STP 500. Martinsville was Elliott’s first start in a Cup Series event as he prepares to take over the No. 24 car in 2016 — currently driven by Jeff Gordon, who announced his retirement from full-time racing after this season.
At Martinsville, things didn’t work out in Elliott’s favor as he had contact with Brett Moffitt on lap 75. After some damage to the car, Elliott went behind the wall and ended up falling 73 laps behind and finished in 38th.
Martinsville, a 0.526-mile track, was Elliott’s first Cup Series attempt, and the upcoming Richmond race will give him a similar challenge — in the sense of both races being on short tracks.
Although Elliott is making his first Cup Series start at Richmond, he’s no stranger to the track. In the XFINITY Series, he captured two second-place finishes in 2014.
With two runner positions and the Friday night race at Richmond, it will prepare Elliott for a better performance in his second cup start than his debut. Unlike Richmond, Elliott had not raced at Martinsville in the XFINITY Series, as the series does not compete there. However, he had made two Truck Series starts, where he captured a sixth place finish and a 20th place finish in 2013.
Richmond seems to be a great track for Elliott as he also made a K&N Pro Series East start in 2011, finishing in 24th and a runner-up finish in 2012.
The upcoming race at Richmond does give Elliott a chance to improve his Cup Series performance, not only from his debut but it helps prepare him for the remainder of the races he is scheduled to compete in this season. Charlotte, Indianapolis and Darlington remain on Elliott’s schedule following Richmond. How all these starts will prepare him for 2016 will be seen at the conclusion of 2015.
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