Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Cup Series title Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, joining his father, Bill, as champions of stock-car racing’s top division.
At 24 years, 11 months and 11 days old, Elliott became the third-youngest Cup Series champion in NASCAR history. Only Jeff Gordon, who claimed his first title at 24 years, three months and eight days old in 1995, and 1950 champ Bill Rexford (then 23 years old) were younger.
Elliott topped fellow finalists Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the season-ending race, held for the first time at the 1-mile Arizona oval. Hamlin, the ace for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, was also competing for his first Cup Series crown; Team Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano were both seeking their second series titles.
Chase Elliott becomes the fourth driver to bring a driving championship to team owner Rick Hendrick. His march to the title gave Hendrick Motorsports its 13th title and its first since 2016, when teammate Jimmie Johnson scored the last of his record-tying seven championships — all with Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick’s other titles came from Gordon, a four-time champ who spent all of his Cup Series career with the organization, and 1996 title winner Terry Labonte.
Elliott rode into the postseason picture with two victories, then advanced through the playoffs with wins in both the Round of 12 and Round of 8 finales. Along the way, he continued his mastery of road-course racing, stretching his win streak to four with triumphs at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course (a new venue added after the COVID-19 shutdown) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. His other victories were career firsts, one on Charlotte’s oval layout and the other at Martinsville Speedway in the season’s penultimate race.
His Sunday triumph brings the championship back to the small town of Dawsonville, Georgia, where Bill Elliott’s march to his only Cup Series title was celebrated in 1988. The Dawsonville Pool Room, a shrine to the Elliotts and other Peach State racing legends, regularly cheered Bill Elliott’s wins by sounding its signature “si-reen.” The pool room’s owners shifted those victory cries to mark Chase Elliott’s accomplishments as he climbed through the NASCAR national series ranks.
Like his father, Chase Elliott carried the No. 9 to a championship. They are the third father-son duo to win Cup Series titles, following Lee and Richard Petty, and Ned and Dale Jarrett — all NASCAR Hall of Famers.
The championship marked Elliott’s second national series title. He also secured the NASCAR Xfinity Series title as a rookie with JR Motorsports in 2014.
The title was also a first for crew chief Alan Gustafson, who completed his fifth season atop the No. 9 team’s pit box. Gustafson’s crown came in his second Championship 4 appearance; he also helped guide four-time champ Jeff Gordon to the title round in his final full season in 2015.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
We have a winner, one last time! After getting beaten and bruised for the last couple of years, Jeremy The Coach pulled out a victory to cap off this hectic and weird race season. For this championship race, The Coach was awarded a cool, and very much needed race high 40 points!
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
There was a highly competitive duo that neatly tucked themselves into the second highest scorers of the race. That twosome includes Linda The Cookie Mom and Dan The Numbers Cruncher. Even though this duo scored the same number of points, 34 big ones, The Cookie Mom was riding with Joey Logano while The Numbers Dude was hanging tight with Kyle Busch.
Meanwhile, Kurt Busch had two of our most vociferous individuals in his corner. The KuBu cheerleaders this week consists of Carlton The Doorman and Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head. KuBu dropped 31 points into these two players buckets Sunday.
Also collecting a very tidy sum for their last race of the year was the tandem of Jim, aka Chiefy, and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. The Hammack brothers were rooting loud and proud for Freaky Fast Kevin Harvick to do his thing at the Avondale race track. Unfortunately, Harvick didn’t have the car to beat, but he did pull off a 7th place, and deposited 30 points into each of their 3rd segment buckets.
Rounding out the top five scores for the championship race is Carole, aka Rudy. Rudy was able to add 29 points to her 3rd segment totals from William Byron’s 9th place finish.
Finishing off the season, our scoring pylon was slightly rearranged when the checkered flag flew at Phoenix Raceway. Six of the eleven players swapped positions to end the segment.
The biggest movers of the race were Bernie The Bay Area Bandit and Snoopy Dawn. Both ladies dropped two (2) places ending this season, La Bandita and Snoopy finished out the segment in 3rd and 8th positions, respectively.
Four players moved one (1) position, or just next door from their previous abodes. Those four players include Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, Jeremy The Coach, Leon Your Benevolent and Most Humble Sheriff, as well as Carlton The Doorman. The season ending landing positions are 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 7th, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
It looks like Snoopy Dawn was really trying to make a last ditch effort to spend the offseason in our luxurious Outhouse. Even with her rather small amount of points scored, 13 points in total, she came up really short of evicting the current resident! Nevertheless, that small point tally was enough for her to earn the very last Crappiest Pick of The Week award for 2020!
Til the beginning of the 2021 season, the 1st segment, Linda The Cookie Mom gets to spend the next 93 days in our freshly redecorated luxurious Outhouse. In case anyone may have not spent any time in The Outhouse over the last year, it has been relocated this year. It is now situated down at the end of Lonely Street, just across the street from The Heart Break Hotel! There is a little know lounge singer there from Tupelo, MS, with the initials of EP!!!
Since this is the close of the 2020 season, and also the end of Mr. Seven-Time’s NASCAR career, this must be where the cowboy rides away!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!