NASCAR Insider Makes Jaw-Dropping Chase Elliott Claim With Wild Most Popular Driver Prediction

Published 11/12/2023, 2:37 AM EST

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With a tibia injury ruling him out for six races in the early phase of the recently concluded season, Chase Elliott had a dismal run in the 2023 NASCAR Cup series. Even though the son of ‘Awesome Bill from Dawsonville’ has been the reigning popular driver award winner for the past five seasons, this year could bring some inadequacy.

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NBC Sports analyst Rick Allen recently dove into how Elliott’s season shaped up gradually. Breaking down the driver’s forgetful experience in 2023 into an insightful analysis, Rick Allen predicted how another rising driver could end Elliott’s position. The industry insider revealed what he thinks will be a major letdown for the 2022 ‘Most Popular Driver’ award winner.

Who can replace Chase Elliott from one facet he’s dominated for years in the Cup Series?

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Following the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chase Elliott took over NASCAR’s Cup Series ‘Most Popular Driver‘ award for five consecutive years. However, this year, it could be very different. With the results to be revealed at the end of November 2023, Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney has made a great case for it, along with some witty marketing from Team Penske.

Rick Allen believes that the #12 Team Penske driver could be the one to dethrone fan-favorite Chase Elliott this year, and one could even be forced to think that his words are a hint of what is about to come. He’s been the most popular driver forever until, I think, Ryan Blaney won it this year,” claimed Allen, denouncing the #9 driver’s chances in an unexpected development.

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With Ryan Blaney’s phenomenal performance in the concluding race of the Cup series, #9’s claim on the title seems to be very much in danger. Even the man of the hour, Chase Elliott himself expressed dissatisfaction at how this year’s playoffs turned out to be.

Chase Elliott is unimpressed by his route to the 2023 playoffs

It definitely wasn’t a good year for the 2020 Cup series champion. Plagued by injured-induced track absences and race suspensions, this was the first time ever that Elliott missed the playoffs in the Cup Series.

Elliott’s position earlier this season had to be filled by Corey LaJoie and Josh Berry. The substitutions helped him stay alive in the team owner’s championship, and with a playoff waiver being granted by NASCAR, Elliott still had many races to make it count. While speaking to NBC, #9 revealed how he didn’t think missing races was the only reason behind his lack-lustre season.

You miss seven races, and that ruins your year. I don’t buy that,stated Elliott, speaking to NBC. The #9 team reached the Championship 4 race in 2022 before losing to champion Joey Logano in Phoenix. While reaching the season finale is a sign of a successful season for many drivers, Chase felt that 2023 was just a continuation of the team’s problems from the previous season.

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He claimed, “I think that the things that we started struggling with last year continued to this year. It was really a reflection of where we left off the season (in 2022) and, unfortunately, we just never figured some of those things out and got better.”

The 2022 Cup Series playoffs were challenging for the 27-year-old, too. From the Round of 16 to the Championship race, Elliott had finished outside of the top 10 seven times and had only finished on the podium twice, with one win and a P2 finish. He had to rely on the playoff points in his account throughout the season to qualify based on the standings for Phoenix.

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That being said, with the ‘Most Popular Driver’ award coming up later this month, who knows, maybe that can be Chase Elliott’s saving grace in an otherwise forgettable season.  The 2023 NMPA Most Popular Driver will be announced on November 30 as part of the Champion’s Week festivities. Stay tuned.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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I instantly fell in love with the sport as I witnessed the cars' breakneck speeds and the robust nature of the sport and its drivers. As I had a deep-rooted interest in automobiles, the sport naturally piqued my interest in a jiffy. Kyle Busch and his cutthroat style of racing played an important role in getting me hooked to stock car racing as I hopped on streams to watch him win races.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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