Bob Pockrass, NASCAR 17d

Chase Elliott fails prequalifying tech, will start 34th at Texas

NASCAR

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Chase Elliott's frustrating semifinal round in the NASCAR playoffs continued Friday when he never got a chance to take a qualifying lap.

Elliott was one of seven drivers whose cars never made it through prequalifying technical inspection. As the best of those cars in owner points, Elliott will start 34th Sunday in the AAA Texas 500.

"We were trying to pass," said Elliott, whose team tried three times to get his car to pass the platform that measures chassis and camber measurements. "I don't know why that was. We were fixing our area of failure in a way larger increment than what we failed by, and I don't know why we couldn't get it to produce the green light [for the OK].

"It happens. It happened to a lot of people here today [at Texas]. We're going to fix it, and we'll go on to tomorrow and try to get our car driving good [in practice]."

Elliott, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, faced a similar situation in April at Texas when he started 33rd and finished ninth. In that race, Elliott's teammate Jimmie Johnson came from the rear at the start and won the race.

"If you get your car driving good, you can pass," Elliott said. "It's doable. We'll see."

Kurt Busch won the pole for the race, and two playoff drivers, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, will start second and third, respectively.

The other playoff drivers except for Elliott also start in the top 10: Kyle Busch (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh), Ryan Blaney (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (ninth) and Brad Keselowski (10th).

Elliott, after a crash last Sunday at Martinsville in which he was dumped by Hamlin while leading with two laps remaining, is eighth among the eight playoff drivers in the standings. The championship field will be cut to four after the race next week at Phoenix. A win automatically advances one of those eight drivers to be among the four finalists, with the rest of the spots awarded by points.

"Qualifying is important for stage points, so it even puts more emphasis for us having to go for the win," Elliott said. "It keeps it simple. Jimmie [came from the back] in the spring."

Elliott also was docked 15 minutes of the 105 minutes allotted for practice Saturday because his car failed to pass inspection in three attempts prior to qualifying.

"It's not the end of the world," Elliott said. 

Other drivers who failed to get through prequalifying tech were Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie and Gray Gaulding.

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