Why the Rico Abreu, Keith Kunz Combination Works
Jan 13, 2022
It’s been a tremendous week for Chase Elliott.
Before he returned to the ski slopes of Colorado, one of his most cherished offseason hobbies, the 2020 Cup Series champion was celebrating a victory in the NCAA National Football Championship by his beloved Georgia Bulldogs.
Prior to that, during his return trip to the Tulsa Expo Center on Monday, Elliott won his heat race from the pole and looked very much like a dirt racer during his B-feature -- finishing eighth while needing a fourth or better to make the feature.
But it’s how he looked during that process that turned the most heads.
Elliott was throwing sliders and having realized that he just couldn’t hit the bottom the way he wanted, worked in the top side single-handedly and used it to start making passes. At one point, he ran as high as fifth and had a chance to make the feature, which would have been considerable progress for a driver who made his first dirt open wheel starts during the fall of 2020.
His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson is fielding the car under the Kyle Larson Inc. banner and offered heavy praise for what he saw on Monday.
"I'm sure he's disappointed in how that played out, but that's as confident and aggressive as he's ever looked," Larson said. "You could tell internally he was probably pissed off, but he was hammering it tonight. Everyone in the building could see his aggression and he looked out of control, which is what you have to be in a Midget."
After his heat, Elliott said there was "a lot to clean up but proud of the effort."
For his part, Larson was ecstatic having watched it.
"I wish he could have got through Turn 1 better in his qualifier because it would have just set him up for the feature better," Larson said. "I hope he had fun and he was a lot of fun to watch."
Elliott will return to action on Saturday during a late afternoon main and will seek to advance into at least one addition feature. Last year, his race began and ended in the second F Main.