Chase Elliott wins NASCAR’s most popular driver award
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.