November 4, 2022: at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, AZ  (HHP/Jim Fluharty)
Chase Elliott (HHP/Jim Fluharty)

Elliott Eyes Surpassing Hall Of Fame Dad

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Chase Elliott has a chance to become the first driver in NASCAR’s Elliott family to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships.

He would also join Kyle Busch as the only active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with more than one Cup Series championship. Joey Logano, also qualified for the Championship Four, could also secure his second title.

Elliott, 26, won the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship for Hendrick Motorsports.

In addition to Elliott and Logano, Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain will also battle for the championship.

Elliott will start fifth in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Logano starts on the pole in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford. Bell starts 17th in the DeWalt Toyota and Chastain starts 25th in the TrackHouse Chevrolet.

Chase Elliott’s father is the Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, better known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” During the peak of his career, Elliott was one of NASCAR’s best. He won the Daytona 500 in 1985 and ’87, became the first driver to win The Winston Million in 1985 by winning the Daytona 500, Winston 500 at Talladega and the Southern 500 in the same season.

Bill Elliott also won the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Championship for the family operated Melling Racing Team.

Bill Elliott won 44 NASCAR Cup Series races in a career that spanned an incredible 38 years, beginning in 1975 when he was just a teenager and concluding with two Cup Series races in 2012.

Bill Elliott drove in his last NASCAR-sanctioned race in 2018, a Xfinity Series race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Chase Elliott’s Cup Series career began with five races in 2015 before a full-time rookie season in 2016. In eight seasons, Elliott has 18 wins, including five this season.

SPEED SPORT asked Elliott what it would mean to the Elliott family to get a multiple Cup Series champion?

“I’m sure it would be great, but until you cross those bridges, I don’t know,” Elliott told SPEED SPORT. “I really don’t. Until you experience those moments and get to live them first hand of you are lucky enough and fortunate enough to do that, you don’t know what it feels like.

“I can sit here and give you a bunch of big words on how much it would mean to me and how excited I would be. But until you experience moments that are that special to you because of how hard they are to achieve, you can’t put a meaning on it.”

This has been a very interesting season for Elliott. He has had periods of the season where he has been fantastic. There have also been periods where he’s finished deep in the field.

Since his last victory at Talladega on October 2, Elliott has finished 20th at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, 21st at Las Vegas, 14th at Homestead and 10th last Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

At least he is trending in the right direction, but if Elliott is going to win the NASCAR Cup Series title for the second time in his career, he’s going to have to win the race at Phoenix, or at least be the highest-finishing driver of the Championship Four.

“The trend of our year has been a lot of inconsistency, having a lot of really good weeks and some really poor weeks as well,” Elliott said. “It’s part of the deal sometimes.

November 5, 2022: at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, AZ  (HHP/Jim Fluharty)
Chase Elliott (left) chats with Denny Hamlin on Saturday at Phoenix Raceway. (HHP/Jim Fluharty)

“It’s not always going to be ‘Rainbows and Butterflies.’ It’s just not. As much as I would love for it to be, it’s not. I recognize that. Being a part of the Final Four is a great accomplishment. It’s just as meaningful as how you get there.

“When you get in that Final Four, anyone of the four has a chance to win the championship.”

If Elliott accomplishes the feat and wins the NASCAR Cup Series championship this weekend, he will also become the fourth different driver to win the regular season championship and the overall title in the same season; joining Martin Truex Jr. (2017), Kyle Busch (2019) and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson (2021).

“If we hadn’t had the regular season that we had, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Elliott said. “So definitely it makes a huge difference. We’re fortunate to have been on the good end of that this year, being able to have a good regular season. Have never really had a regular season that good before, so that was great.

“Super proud of our whole team for accomplishing some race wins and ultimately that regular season points deal. Those 15 points combined with the wins that we had were crucial.”

Ironically, Elliott’s No. 9 team at Hendrick Motorsports cannot win NASCAR’s Owners Title, which is very important because that is what determines the prize fund as well as pit position and garage location for next season.

This could be the first time since Joe Weatherly won the driver’s championship and Wood Brothers Racing won the owner’s championship in 1963.

Elliott has made 13 series starts at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, posting one win (2020), five top fives, eight top 10s and a pole. His average finish at Phoenix is a strong 10.7, best among the 2022 Championship 4.

Earlier this season at Phoenix, Elliott started 19th and finished 11th.