FORT WORTH, Texas – Chase Elliott did not make it through qualifying inspection at Texas Motor Speedway Friday evening and will start his No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet from near the rear of the field in 34th for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as a result.
Elliott was one of seven cars — also including Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth — that didn’t turn a qualifying lap because they didn’t pass inspection in time.
While obviously disappointed in having to start from the rear on Sunday, Elliott was still hopeful, even confident, that he will be able to make his way forward. Perhaps challenge for the win.
“As you all know, qualifying well is important for stage points so I think for us now it puts the emphasis on having to compete for a win,’’ Elliott said. “It keeps it simple. [April winner] Jimmie [Johnson] did it in the spring and I think if we have our car driving good tomorrow afternoon, it’s definitely doable.’’
In fact, it’s the second consecutive time Elliott’s car did not pass qualifying here at Texas. He was among nine drivers forced to start the race from the rear.
“I don’t know why teams fail qualifying tech here more than other places,’’ Elliott said. “I think if you get your car driving good tomorrow, you can pass. Jimmie proved that here in the spring. I think it’s doable. We’ll see.
“Everybody’s pushing it. You don’t want to get in position you’re not qualifying. Everybody’s doing everything they can to go fast.’’
Elliott is currently eighth in the playoff rankings — 26 points behind fourth place Kevin Harvick with two races remaining to set the four-driver championship grid for the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale.