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After going winless in his first two full-time seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series, Chase Elliott won his first race in the top division in 2018 when he took the checkered flag at Watkins Glen International in his 99th start.
In 2020, Elliott won five times and secured his first Cup championship with a victory in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Elliott had won the week before at Martinsville Speedway to secure his place in Championship 4.
In 2022, fans voted Elliott the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver for the fifth straight season. His father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, had claimed that award a record 16 times.
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Chase Elliott was born in Dawsonville, Georgia, and followed his father, Bill Elliott, into big-time stock car racing. Every time Elliott wins a race, the siren at the Dawsonville Pool Hall blares in celebration.
From the outset, Elliott seemed destined to drive a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. He honed his skills in Late Model Stock Cars, winning the prestigious Snowball Derby (Pensacola, Florida) for the first time in 2011.
In 2014, driving for Hendrick affiliate JR Motorsports, Elliott scored back-to-back Xfinity Series victories in his sixth and seventh starts, at Texas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway. After winning the Xfinity championship the following season, Elliott graduated to the Cup Series in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Elliott succeeded four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, but he failed to win in two seasons with that car.
The 2818 season brought a switch to the No. 9, the same number his father had driven to the series championship in 1988 (though in Bill Elliott’s case, the No. 9 was a Ford owned by Harry Melling).
In his third full-time season, Elliott got his breakthrough Cup victory on the road course at Watkins Glen International, becoming the series’ youngest road course winner at age 22. He followed that performance with wins at Dover and Kansas.
The victory at the Glen was a harbinger of things to come for Elliott, who established himself as the pre-eminent road course driver in the Cup Series. In fact, seven of Elliott’s 18 Cup wins have come at tracks that include right turns as well as left.
Two of those road course victories came during his 2020 championship season, when Elliott parlayed late-season heroics into the title. In the 32nd race of the season, he won at the Charlotte Roval to advance to the Round of 8 in the Cup Playoffs.
Facing elimination from the postseason after a 20th-place finish in Texas in Race 34, Elliott came to Martinsville needing a win to keep his title hopes alive. He led 236 laps, including the last 44, won the second stage and survived the win-or-bust scenario with his fourth victory of the season.
A week later, he secured the series title with a convincing victory at Phoenix, where he led 153 of the 312 laps and finished 2.740 seconds ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski.
Elliott won three times in 2021 and tied his career best with five victories in 2022. Elliott also won the regular-season title and was voted Most Popular Driver for the fifth straight year. An early accident in the season finale relegated him to fourth on the final standings.
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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