Anybody who watched Chase Elliott race super late models in the 2010s realized he was a generational talent. His XFINITY Series championship in 2014, his rookie season, reinforced it. His development progressed in the Cup Series, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. He’s made the playoffs every year of his Cup career and won three or more races in each of the last three seasons. Moreover, he’s solidified himself as a road course ace.
Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, Elliott took the next step in his development with his first Cup Series championship.
No longer can people say that Elliott can’t do what his father, Bill Elliott, did in 1988. Moreover, no longer can people say the league’s most popular driver isn’t a worthy successor to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Elliott did it.
He joins his father as only the third father/son duo to win a Cup Series championship, and only the fifth championship duo with familial ties. Furthermore, assuming he wins Most Popular Driver honors, this season, he’ll be the first to win both it and the championship in the same season since his father in 1988.
And he doesn’t turn 25 for another 20 days. So this is just the first of many title runs to come.
What’s the next step for Elliott?
Forge a dynasty.
If Elliott wins a second championship, which his father never did, then he’s well on his way to NASCAR immortality. What’s more, doing so validates that he’s a worthy successor to NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Jeff Gordon, whom he replaced at Hendrick Motorsports.
For now, however, as the Dawsonville Pool Room’s siren blares, I have just one last thing to say.
Elliott, if you’re reading this, savor this moment. You’ve done something that only 33 other humans have ever done, win a championship in the Cup Series.
That’s my view, for what it’s worth.
TOP PIC: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images