Can Defending NASCAR Champ Chase Elliott Enter the Jimmie Johnson-Jeff Gordon Club at Phoenix?

Published 11/05/2021, 6:04 AM EDT
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 11: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


When Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup Series title in 2020, he became the second-youngest driver in history to do so. This year, the 25-year-old is knocking on the same door again. And if he goes through, he will join an elite company.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

With a win in Phoenix, Chase Elliott will become the 11th driver with two consecutive title victories, a list that includes names like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt.

In addition to becoming part of that club, Elliott has the chance to make another potential record if he wins in Phoenix.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

On Sunday, Chase Elliott could become the youngest driver to win two in a row.

The ones in the way of Chase Elliott

But as enticing and noteworthy as all these records and numbers are, Chase Elliott’s focus will be not on the prize but on the road to achieving that.

And on that road, he has some tough competition, both from inside his own team and from outside.

WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, exits his car after the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 08, 2021 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Hendrick driver will compete against his teammate Kyle Larson and the two Joe Gibbs drivers, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

Aside from the obvious, all three of Elliott’s competitors have a pretty strong ‘extra reason’ for winning the championship.

His teammate, Kyle Larson, will start as the title favorite, on the back of 11 wins this season.

Martin Truex Jr. who sits behind Larson for most wins this season, with four victories, will be quietly chasing his second title as an underdog.

And his 40-year-old Joe Gibbs teammate Denny Hamlin will finally want to add the one title missing from his illustrious career, the Cup Series title.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Which direction will the wind blow in Phoenix?

Fans can expect a head-to-head battle for the top spot. But perhaps it’s Chase Elliott, who has just a few more reasons to win in Phoenix.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The desert wind in Arizona can blow in either of the four directions on Sunday. And it’d be on Chase Elliott’s mind to not only turn the wind in last year’s direction but to write his name in the history books of NASCAR along the way.

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shaharyar

170 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A Graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for the better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in the future.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT