“Really Big Winners” – Chase Elliott Impressed with All Changes Made by NASCAR in Unusual 2020 Season

Published 12/26/2020, 2:03 AM EST
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – OCTOBER 28: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet, enters his car to start the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


The 2020 NASCAR season was unlike any other in the sport’s recent history. NASCAR was one of the first sports to return amid the pandemic and it did so by making quite a few changes to its usual way of doing things. The authorities earned a lot of praise from many of their drivers for managing the races during such tough times, and Chase Elliott is one of them.

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One of the biggest changes was shortening the race weekends by eliminating practice and qualifying. Some of the tracks even hosted double-header weekends, and new rules had to be introduced to manage the challenges of racing.

The reigning Cup Series champion, Elliott, was asked which of the changes he liked the most. Much to NASCAR’s delight, their most popular driver said there was not one change that he was against. He also said that he’d like to see them continue in the future as well.

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There is nothing they have done this year that I have not liked. They have all been really big winners for our industry,” Elliott said during an interaction.

RICHMOND, VA – SEPTEMBER 11: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, exit pit road during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott explains why he liked the adjustments

No practice and qualifying forced drivers to just show up and race each weekend. At the same time, for all teams, it restricted the costs of the preparation needed for the entire weekend. Additionally, tracks also held two races for the same division in as many days to help complete the schedule in the limited time-frame.

Elliott expressed what he liked about the ‘new normal’ in 2020.

I see positives in shorter weekends, I see positives in no practice, I see positives in the choose cone. I see positives in double-headers. Especially at race tracks that we visit within a month’s time and that you’re not selling out anyway,” said the 25-year-old.

The champ liked the idea of going back to the basics in many aspects.

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and his crew chief Alan Gustafson pose for a photo 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)

There’s a lot of really good things that they’ve been doing. I just feel like they’re getting back to a lot of basics that we outgrew as an industry. That we really got to get back to make everything work,” Elliott said further.

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Can Elliott win more in 2021?

The one-day shows will continue in 2021 as well. Barring a few exceptions, as many as 28 race weekends next season will continue without practice and qualifying. Chase Elliott and many other drivers certainly faced difficulty getting used to the big change. However, once they did, most of them seemed to like it, sharing similar views as Elliott.

Meanwhile, Elliott will also be happy to see seven road-course races on the 2021 calendar. With four straight wins on those tracks, he is a favorite to win many more races in his title-defense year.

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DIVE DEEPER

Chase Elliott Opens up on Jeff Gordon’s Role in Helping Him Master Road Course Races in NASCAR

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 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.

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