Can Reigning Champ Chase Elliott Break a 21-Year-Old Jinx at 2021 NASCAR Daytona 500?

Published 02/10/2021, 5:30 AM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 13: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands on the grid during the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)


Ahead of this weekend’s Daytona 500, Chase Elliott has a bit of a tough task on his hands. In the last two decades, the reigning Cup Series champion has never won the following year’s Daytona 500. The last champion to do so was Dale Jarrett in 2000.

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Elliott’s target will be to try and break that jinx once and for all. It is worth mentioning that the reigning champion finished in the Top 5 on five out of eight occasions. The closest that they ever came was in 2015, when Kevin Harvick finished second. However, nobody has been able to take that last step.

Now, Chase Elliott will make his sixth attempt at winning the iconic NASCAR race. Unfortunately, he has not had the best track record at the venue, failing to break into the top 10 so far.

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Chase Elliott is determined to break the jinx

“There is no defending,” Elliott said. “We need to be on offense. We need to keep pushing. I think if you’re back on your heels and trying to protect something, I don’t think your mind is in the right place. We want more.”

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands in the garage with crew chief Alan Gustafson during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Although his Daytona 500 record is pretty dismal, Elliott has performed decently at the Daytona track itself. He won the 2016 Xfinity season opener at the track, in addition to winning the Cup qualifying races there in 2017 and 2018. For obvious reasons, he is now targeting the 500 win. Hopefully, he can improve from his personal-best finish of 14th in 2017.

However, it is worth mentioning that the 500 is notorious for being unpredictable. Many unexpected winners have emerged from this race, and one of them could still be Elliott himself.

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The question is, can he finally make it to Victory Lane at the iconic track? If he does, he will finally break that 21-year-old jinx for good.

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Dhruv George

11607 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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