Chase El­liott wins NASCAR’s most pop­u­lar driver award

Manila Times - - Nascar -

LAS VE­GAS: Chase El­liott has been voted NASCAR’s most pop­u­lar driver, end­ing a 15- year run for su­per­star Dale Earn­hardt Jr.

Earn­hardt pre­sented El­liott the award dur­ing NASCAR’s an­nual sea­son-end­ing awards cer­e­mony Thurs­day at the Wynn Las Ve­gas.

Earn­hardt won the award for 15 con­sec­u­tive years until his re­tire­ment last sea­son. His streak fell one short of the record of 16 set by Chase El­liott’s fa­ther, Bill El­liott.

- li­ott said told Earn­hardt on stage. “So cool, though, that it stayed be­tween El­liott and Earn­hardt for so long. I am glad, though, that you quit a year be­fore you broke Dad’s record, so that’s pretty cool. I’m pretty happy about that. We got it back in the right name. I’m

The award is based on a fan vote and spon­sored by the Na­tional Mo­tor­sports Press As­so­ci­a­tion. Bill El­liott won the award ev­ery year be­tween 1984 and 2002, until he removed his name from con­sid­er­a­tion.

Now, the award has re­turned to the El­liott fam­ily.

Chase El­liott won three times in the Cup Se­ries in 2018, in­clud­ing twice in the play­offs.

“I was in some good sit­u­a­tions with some fast cars and I was able to

as strong as those cou­ple months there in the sum­mer, late sum­mer, but look­ing for­ward to ‘19 and

years in the mak­ing.

El­liott won the Xfin­ity Se­ries cham­pi­onship in 2014, when he

a full NASCAR sea­son. Plans were formed in 2015 for his move to the big leagues with Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports as he re­placed re­tir­ing four-time cham­pion Jeff Gor­don. El­liott was in the seat not long af­ter his 20th birth­day.

Chase en­tered the se­ries with a built-in fan base that des­per­ately wanted him to match his fa­ther’s suc­cess. Be­cause he drove for pow­er­house Hen­drick, in Gor­don’s

come im­me­di­ately. El­liott did claim the pole for his Day­tona 500 debut, but he stand­ings and no wins.

Year 2 was sim­i­lar. The pole again at Day­tona and noth­ing to show for that ef­fort. Even worse? Five run­ner- tory Speed­way. in the snatched race at El­liott the away Vir­ginia was at lead­ing Martinsville track with late only a few laps re­main­ing be­fore

vic­tory and an au­to­matic spot in the

El­liott was in­stead wrecked by Denny Ham­lin. He didn’t win, and two weeks later at Phoenix re­tal­i­ated to ensure Ham­lin wouldn’t race for the ti­tle, ei­ther.

road course at Watkins Glen to notch his first win. That Au­gust vic­tory locked him into the play­offs, and he book­ended the sec­ond round of the cham­pi­onship chase with vic­to­ries at Dover and Kansas.

AFP PHOTO

Chase El­liott

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