Chase Elliott isn't among the drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2023. However, he is in the running for the 2023 Owners Championship.
Based on Elliott's performance thus far in the postseason, it shows why if he didn't miss seven races this season, he would've been right in the hunt in the playoffs. Fellow competitors are taking notice, including one of Chase's rivals in Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin has been impressed by what Elliott has been able to accomplish. Hamlin addressed several topics on this week's episode of Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin, including Elliott's performance in the playoffs.
In Hamlin's mind what Elliott has been able to do is really flying over the heads of fans.
"We've got some storylines here. Cars that are in, cars that are out. Chase doesn't have a yellow-spoiler, but he's in. His car's in. A lot of money being exchanged hands here, that people don't know about, that may not mean a lot to you, but it means a lot to others. So we'll see how that plays out," Hamlin said. " The No. 9 car could run deep. I mean, the No. 9 car could win the championship and nobody would even know it."
Hamlin then explained that the owner's championship means a lot more than what fans think.
"... That's why they have owner's points, and that's why they pay us, is because you know, is it fair to Hendrick Motorsports, if Chase breaks his leg, is it fair to, 'Hey, you've just costs that team millions and millions of dollars because of an accident?' No, as long as Rick Hendrick continues to invest and spend the money to put that car on the race track every week, he deserves to get paid to do it, and that's why they pay us off of owners instead of drivers," Hamlin said.
Elliott has been very consistent in the first five races of the playoffs with a worse finish of 11th. He currently finds himself sitting all the way up in the top five of the owner standings heading into the final race of the round of 12.
Though he won't be getting his second championship, for Elliott to still be in the running for the Owners Championship for Hendrick Motorsports means alot. That means Mr. Hendrick still has three drivers with a chance to win the owner's title.
It would be quite interesting if it came down to Hamlin and Elliott at Phoenix. Especially since the two had their big issues at the Coca-Cola 600 when Elliott purposely wrecked Hamlin and ended up suspended for a race.
Imagine if Elliott found a way to win this weekend at the Charlotte Roval. Hamlin is certainly giving Elliott some props about his postseason performance.
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