Chase Elliott joins racing royalty with 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship; Joey Logano of Middletown, CT ended up third behind his Penske team mate Brad Keselowski. Berlin, CT’s Ryan Preece ended up 34th while Corey Lajoie came in 8th

Note: Corey LaJoie is the son of two time Xfinity Champion Randy LaJoie who calls Norwalk CT his hometown

Chase Elliott Championship Hero

By Staff Report November 8, 2020  at 6:00 PM

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.

This story will be updated

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