DOVER, Del. — In their media availability on Friday, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano both stressed the importance of stage points and stringing together a solid outing Sunday at Dover before Talladega next week.
The polar opposite unfolded when the green flag dropped, as Elliott and Logano both got off to nightmare starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12.
Logano, who entered as the No. 4 seed, didn’t even take the green before an axle broke. He spent the first 24 laps in the garage and reentered the track on Lap 24. Logano went into Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway 24 points above the cut line, but when he resolved the broken axel suffered during the pace laps, he found himself 15 points below the chopping block.
Elliott, who entered as the No. 7 seed and last year’s fall race winner at Dover, suffered an engine failure on Lap 8. He went into Sunday’s race 19 points above the cut line. After the engine failure pummeled to 18 points below the chopping block.
“I just had an engine failure of some sort,” Elliott said. “Unfortunately, we don’t really know what it was just yet. It just quit running. It didn’t really seem like anything was off. We were just kind of making laps and then obviously had a failure. It’s an unfortunate way to start this round for sure.
Elliott will be credited with a last-place finish — 38th — hoping to not fall too behind with two races remaining in the Round of 12 (Talladega and Kansas), both tracks Elliott has won at.
“I don’t know where we’ll stack up,” Elliott said. “I assume we’ll have to win one of these next few weeks. If you ever make it to Homestead, you’re going to have to win down there. I guess it’s a good opportunity to practice here these next few weeks.”