When the season finale at the Phoenix Raceway ended, it heralded a new era for Hendrick Motorsports. At the same time, it signified the end of another era for the team. In other words, Jimmie Johnson was walking away from NASCAR, while a new star arose and his name is Chase Elliott.
After the race, Johnson parked his car alongside Elliott’s and they shared a special moment. Speaking afterward, Elliott opened up on the moment to clarify suggestions that it was a ‘passing of the torch’.
He said, “Yeah, that really didn’t cross my mind. I saw him take his victory lap and I remembered this picture that floated around my parents’ office.
“It was Dad [Bill Elliott] and Matt Kenseth sharing a moment like that. Dad won the race and Matt won the championship that year.”
Chase Elliott was inspired by that image
The 24-year-old confessed that the image inspired him. So he figured that he could try and recreate it. Aside from that, he was delighted to share such a moment with his teammate. Elliott acknowledged Johnson as a great mentor and friend.
Johnson always had some wise words for Chase Elliott throughout the weekend. It is also safe to say that the #48 driver wanted to see whether Elliott would heed his advice.
Suffice to say, everything worked out splendidly for Chase Elliott and he is officially a Cup Series champion.
Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson is walking away from NASCAR and leaving a rich legacy behind. 7 Cup Series championships and 83 wins in a 20-year career is nothing to scoff at. Now, the 45-year-old will head to IndyCar and try to make his mark there.
Back in the NASCAR paddock, Chase Elliott will take up the cudgels from Johnson. This is also in a literal sense, as Elliott is the last Hendrick Motorsports champion after Jimmie Johnson. So, the NASCAR legend can rest easy, knowing that the team is in good hands.