Chase Elliott Talks to Jeff Gordon About Emotions of Receiving NASCAR ‘Champion’s Journal’ from Kyle Busch

Published 02/16/2021, 11:50 AM EST
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Against all the odds last year, Chase Elliott made a final surge in the Playoffs to eventually lift the NASCAR Cup Series title. His first trophy after spending five years in the top division, it was a well-deserved achievement for the Hendrick Motorsports No.9.

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Elliott followed it up by also winning NASCAR’s ‘Most Popular Driver’ award for the Cup Series in 2020. With a host of other accolades that followed, it certainly indicated that a star is now born.

But the achievement also meant that he received the ‘Champion’s Journal’ for the first time in his career. Speaking in an interview, Elliott talked about what it felt like to inherit the prized souvenir from 2019 Cup champion, Kyle Busch.

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The Champion’s Journal is going to be even cooler down the road, said Chase Elliott

Elliott stated, “I saw Kyle Busch at the Snowball Derby, and him handing me the Champions’ book I’m like, ‘wow’. This is real, and I guess Jimmie (Johnson) was the first.”

Indeed, it was seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson who started this famed tradition back in 2011. Since then, it has been passed on to the likes of Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and now recently, Elliott as well.

Elliott continued, “It’s cool now, but it’s going to be even cooler down the road.” Jeff Gordon then pinpointed that Johnson had had it for quite a few years and might have been writing to himself!

To which Elliott chuckled and guessed what could have been the contents of the journal, “That’s true. ‘Dear Me, I will win again next year!’”

Elliott had a fabulous 2021 Daytona 500, only just missing out on the race victory

After facing disappointment in the Busch Clash and qualifying Duels, Elliott backed it up with a solid performance in the season opener. Although he started off 11th, he quickly ensured that he nailed the pace and built his laps with a little more consistency.

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Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) leads NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) and Austin Dillon (3) to win the during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the final lap, an end-to-end battle saw him constantly switch positions with Harvick. But following a fiery and dramatic last-lap crash, Elliott emerged second but fell short of winning the event.

Regardless, it was extremely impressive to see the No.9 make a statement of intent in what will be a title defense campaign for him. Certainly, he has made the first right step towards that particular effort in the season.

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MORE – Jimmie Johnson Reveals the One Thing He Will Not Miss in NASCAR After Watching Daytona 500

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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