AVONDALE, AZ (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott knew he wanted to be a race car driver when he was growing up and on Sunday he followed in his Hall of Fame father Bill’s footsteps by winning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
Elliott passed Joey Logano for the lead on lap 270 and powered to victory in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“I’m not sure I could have sat down and drawn it up any better, you know?,” said Elliott. “So for me, it’s unbelievable. It’s something that I’m not sure — well, I know I haven’t let it sink in yet.”
Elliott, 24, started racing go-karts as a kid and slowly moved up the short track ranks when NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick signed him to a driver development deal at the age of 14.
“Just so grateful for the opportunities and the things I’ve had over the years, great people,” said Elliott. “My mom (Cindy) and dad (Bill) and their support obviously has been from the beginning. Mr. Hendrick came in and really changed my life when he wanted to help. Not to sound like a NASCAR driver, but NAPA Auto Parts, too, coming in when they did. 2014 wouldn’t have happened without them and the championship that came that season. And man, they’ve been a champion partner for years. Now they have a championship to go with it.”
Elliott and his father Bill are just the third father-son duo to win NASCAR Championships, joining Lee and Richard Petty and Ned and Dale Jarrett.
“You know, heck, this is as big as it gets,” said Elliott. “I mean, my goodness. I mean, a champion in the Cup Series? Are you kidding me? It’s nuts. It’s absolutely nuts.”
Elliott’s championship came on the same day that 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson ran his last race, signaling a changing of the guard at Hendrick Motorsports.
“Certainly appreciate his support,” said Elliott. “He’s been a great support system this week. I’ve talked to him multiple times. He’s reached out on a couple occasions, which is very cool. Very thankful. He’s a hero of mine. I think he’ll go down as the greatest to ever do this.”
William Byron Wins NASCAR Cup Series Race At Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Hendrick Motorsports William Byron picked up the win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Byron led race-high 102 laps en route to his second career Cup Series victory.
“This car was just awesome,” said Byron, who credited his crew chief Rudy Fugle. “The track was super slick to start. We had to start pretty far back but made our way up and just had to keep adjusting on the car and kind of finding those little bits.”
Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick was chasing down Byron in final laps of the race but simply ran out of time to catch the leader.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Reddick. “2 or 3 different decisions on a restart would have put me miles ahead and I would have been in-reach (of Byron). 2nd’s great but I saw how much faster I was than those guys at the end so naturally it’s frustrating.”
Martin Truex Jr finished third followed by Kyle Larson in fourth and Kevin Harvick and in fifth.
“My balance got off their the last 40-laps or so,” said Truex. “So close.”
Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell finished sixth follow by Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in seventh.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished eighth and his teammate Ross Chastain finished 17th.
The races featured 20-lead changes among 16-drivers and was slowed by 6-caution flags for 36-laps.
Myatt Snider Wins NASCAR Xfinity Race At Homestead Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Myatt Snider held off a hard-charging Tyler Reddick to win the Contender Boats 250 Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The victory was Snider’s NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
“It’s amazing to finally be in this position of having won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race,” said Snider.
Snider spun his tires on the first restart and Reddick got the lead before the eighth and final caution flag flew for AJ Allmendinger, who spun in Turn 1.
“I yelled ‘damn it’ to myself when they told me on the radio that Tyler was ahead of me,” Snider said after that restart. Snider made the most of the next restart.
“I guess I got a great second chance there,” said Snider. “I saw Tyler (Reddick) happened to do the same thing on the second restart, so I knew that if I could just lay as much power down as I could and get out ahead of everybody then I had a great chance.”
Reddick may have crossed the finish line second but that was short-lived as his car failed NASCAR’s post-race inspection because the ride height in the right rear measured too low.
Reddick’s penalty moved Brandon Jones up to second.
“Those restarts are crazy,” remarked Jones. “That’s a big one there at the end, getting your tires picked up and trying to regroup and you’re going three or four-wide.”
Daniel Hemric finished third with Jeb Burton and Austin Cindric rounding out the top 5.
Snider beat Reddick by .085-seconds. The race featured 20-lead changes among 11-drivers. There were 8-caution flags for 42-laps. The average speed of the race was 103.72 MPH.
Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.
Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.