Listen to this article
Elliott started on the pole and led 36 of 62 laps in Sunday’s race at Road America – the most of any driver.
Elliott even beat Tyler Reddick off pit road in the duo’s final green-flag pit stop of the race. Reddick, however, was able to get by him for position on Lap 46 and inherited the lead for the first time on Lap 47 when the final cars ahead of him made their stops.
Elliott tried valiantly in the final 16 laps to run Reddick back down but never got closer than about a half-second. Reddick eventually pulled away to a 3.304-second victory.
“I didn’t do a very good job there (after the pit stop). I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires and never could get enough of a gap,” Elliott said. “Made a couple mistakes.
“I was gaining a gap there a couple times and made a couple mistakes and let him get back close enough to get me out of sync, and then after that just started struggling.
“Obviously, it was super-difficult to get to somebody to pass them. It was impressive he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistakes. Wish I could have done a better job there.
“I felt like we probably needed a little bit, but I think we were good enough to win, so those always hurt.”
Elliott was looking for his second consecutive win and third of the 2022 season and for much of the race it appeared a formality.
Another new winner
Reddick and his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet turned out to be about the only driver who could keep up with Elliott’s pace on the track.
“Congrats to him,” Elliott said of Reddick. “I know he’s been super-close to that first win, and I’ve been down that road and it can be a rocky one. I’m happy for those guys. They deserve it.”
Elliott said he believes the Next Gen car has become even more aerodynamically sensitive on some tracks then the Cup Series’s previous car, which has made passing very difficult at times.
“As the season goes on and … we learn what everybody needs in their vehicles, every car is going to become the same manufacturer to manufacturer,” he said
“And as that becomes the case, track position is going to become more and more of a premium. That’s just motorsports nowadays. Aero is huge, and you can’t unlearn, so that’s the road we’re on.”