Chase Elliott Makes a Stunning Comeback to Clinch the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Title at Phoenix Raceway

Published 11/08/2020, 6:07 PM EST
Avondale, AZ, USA; Chase Elliot leads on the 125th lap during the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-USA TODAY NETWORK


Chase Elliott ran the most inspired race of his NASCAR Cup Series career to clinch his maiden title. In a season finale that saw multiple shifts in momentum, Elliott grabbed the lead for the last time with 42 laps to go as he passed Joey Logano. Elliott crossed the finish line in style, as his father and former champion Bill Elliott watched from the sidelines.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

All of this, after starting the race in the rear on failing pre-race inspection. Elliott proved why he is a modern star of the sport. He won the title in his first-ever appearance in the Championship 4 race.

He finished ahead of Brad Keselowski in 2nd. Logano was third and Denny Hamlin finished 4th. As the final stage went on, so did Elliott’s lead and domination of the rest of the field.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In his final NASCAR race, the legendary Jimmie Johnson bagged a top-5 finish.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSS!!! YESSS!!!!! AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. LOVE YOU BOYS."

Chase Elliott bursts out in excitement over the radio after winning his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship.

— Matt Mayer (@MatthewMayerCBS) November 8, 2020

Chase Elliott runs an impressive final stage

Chase Elliott held the lead as the final stage restarted. Keselowski and Hamlin battled for third behind Logano, as Elliott continued to surge ahead. With just over 50 laps to go in the race, all four championship contenders pitted. Logano got the advantage off pit road and earned the lead from Elliott before Elliott struck back soon.

With under 25 laps to go, he had a lead of over 2 seconds over Logano. Keselowski’s No. 2 team’s slow pit stops cost him at crucial stages. With just 10 laps to go, Elliott’s lead built to over 3 seconds.

.@chaseelliott’s pass for the lead = 🔥pic.twitter.com/HLYM9c0bTb

— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) November 8, 2020

 

Stage 1: NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Championship Race

The NASCAR Cup Series title contenders wasted no time in signaling their intentions. As Joey Logano led the field early on, Denny Hamlin slid up the track early as he tried to pass Brad Keselowski for the lead.

SLIDE JOB!

Followed by a crossover move! Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski are battling hard for the @NASCAR championship. pic.twitter.com/0G6GNqhM60

— #NASCARPlayoffs on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 8, 2020

Chase Elliott, who started from the rear of the field, was a man on a mission at the start of the race. Within the first 10 laps, Elliott got up to 20th place, he was in the top-15 after 15 laps. At the competition caution on Lap 30, Elliott was already in the top-10. He felt happy with how sharp his car felt.

Logano, Keselowski, and Hamlin held the first three spots at the competition caution.

Keselowski struggled in the battle off pit road and lost six spots. Elliott, who was on a roll, soon passed him for the 5th spot after the race went green again. With under 30 laps to go in the first stage, Elliott entered the top-3, just behind Logano and Hamlin. Keselowski soon entered the mix again.

lap 49 … Logano Hamlin Elliott Keselowski are 1-2-3-4

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) November 8, 2020

In his final NASCAR start, Johnson got up to 12th place after 50-odd laps. Meanwhile, Logano’s team sounded very positive as the first stage neared its end. “Lap times look good, real good,” Elliott was told over the radio.

The running order continued as Joey Logano won the opening stage, leading every lap since the race began.

.@JoeyLogano is seeking his second @NASCAR championship.

He starts the title race with a Stage 1 win. #NASCAR #Championship4 pic.twitter.com/6Gz3iXMKUp

— #NASCARPlayoffs on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 8, 2020

Chase Elliott wins stage 2 of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race

As the second stage began, Johnson entered the top-10 after just a few laps in. The seven-time champion jumped up to seventh place on Lap 105.

Soon, race leader Logano started to have some issues. He felt some vibration and was not comfortable down the straightaway. Amidst all that, Elliott passed Hamlin for second place.

Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Joey Logano (22) leads Brad Keselowski (2) and Denny Hamlin (11) during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Elliott, after starting from the back, led for the first time after 120 laps as Logano struggled a bit. Hamlin got into second place. Keselowski was the first to pit under green, and the others followed him soon.

LOOK. AT. THIS. #Championship4 pic.twitter.com/q68tKfU4jH

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 8, 2020

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

With under 40 laps to go in Stage 2, Elliott bagged the lead again after losing it with the pit stop. Hamlin, Keselowski, and Logano soon rounded off the top-4 as the race reached the halfway mark.

With under 18 laps to go in the stage, Keselowski grabbed the lead for the first time. Elliott fought hard, and with just a few laps to go, grabbed the lead again. However, on the final turn of the stage, Keselowski edged Elliott to win the stage.

THIS BATTLE.

Brad @Keselowski passes Chase Elliott in the final corner for the Stage 2 win at @PhoenixRaceway.

All that's left to settle is the championship on @NBC! #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/aPHEP4v5Zy

— #NASCARPlayoffs on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 8, 2020

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Aayush Majumdar

945 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT