Chase Elliott Determined for Second Cup Title

Presently, Chase Elliott smiles at the prospects of defending his NASCAR Cup Series championship earned in 2020. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

Presently, Chase Elliott smiles at the prospects of defending his NASCAR Cup Series championship earned in 2020. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

All things considered, one might think that Chase Elliott faces a great deal of pressure as the defending NASCAR Cup Series championship. In fact, one might see it like a musician working on a new hit song after a smash record.

However, the 25-year-old Dawsonville, Ga. native seems unfazed with life as the defending champion. Moreover, Chase Elliott seems like Barry Gibb and his brothers Maurice and Robin during The Bee Gees’ Trafalgar album phase – figuring life out.

Indeed, Chase Elliott and his No. 9 team seem as strong as last year's title run. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Indeed, Chase Elliott and his No. 9 team seem as strong as last year’s title run. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

“I don’t necessarily feel like there is,” Elliott said. “For me, I just try to be myself. I can’t say that I feel any different today, personally, than I did a year ago at this time. Obviously, a great season last year and whatnot, but I don’t necessarily feel like that changes who I am personally. I still view things the same and still kind of think about things the same so for me it hasn’t really changed a ton.

“And heck, I don’t know, maybe, but I haven’t really figured out what that is. I just continue to be myself and carry myself as I feel like is appropriate and at the end of the day that’s really all that matters. That’s really all that matters.”

Certainly, Chase Elliott prefers talking on the track when he’s in his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro. By all means, that’s where Elliott showcases himself as a thriving, maturing racer and individual.

Naturally, Elliott, much like his father Bill, continually gains accolades as a popular driver among fans. For the past three years, Elliott won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver of the Year Award.

Regardless of the building popularity with fans at the track and on social media, Chase Elliott remains grounded. To say the least, Elliott does not seem himself as the sole face of NASCAR.

Similarly, Chase Elliott appreciates his journey even with his successes. (Photo: Michael Guariglia | The Podium Finish)

Similarly, Chase Elliott appreciates his journey even with his successes. (Photo: Michael Guariglia | The Podium Finish)

“I don’t have that viewpoint of myself, personally,” Elliott offered. “I feel like that’s everyone’s opinion, the media’s opinion or most importantly our fan’s opinion. But I don’t know that. Who’s to say there needs to be one face? I mean we are a sport of a lot of different drivers and a lot of personalities and a lot of teams. There’s no one person, I don’t think, that can carry the load of attracting everyone to watch.”

With this in mind, Elliott points out the realities of racing and, above all else, any form of sports and entertainment.

“Certain people like watching certain guys,” Elliott shared. “My fans like watching me and there’s a lot of people who probably don’t and that to me is what makes it special is that it’s not just about one person. My response is that I think it takes all shapes and sizes to make this deal work and I feel like I am just a piece of the puzzle.”

Aside from 13 Cup career wins, his 2020 championship and enormous fan appeal, Elliott seems like a relatable 25-year-old. Expressly, he balances self growth as he evolves as a formidable Cup contender, even with social media.

"I just try to be myself. And I think people are going to appreciate that genuine you, no matter what it is." - Chase Elliott (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“I just try to be myself. And I think people are going to appreciate that genuine you, no matter what it is.” – Chase Elliott (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“As time goes on and you get more comfortable in those situation, your content will be better and better and better,” Elliott said. “I don’t feel like I am by any means, really good at it. I just try to be myself. And I think people are going to appreciate that genuine you, no matter what it is. I’ve tried to express more of that. The more you can express that, the more fun you will have and the more you are going to enjoy it.”

Presently, Elliott, on account of two wins, 11 top fives and 14 top 10 results, seems prime for another title run. Altogether, Elliott and his No. 9 team, led by crew chief Alan Gustafson, ranks fifth in the Playoff standings.

Given these points, Elliott’s teammate, Kyle Larson, continually raises the bar with his incredible season. On the whole, Hendrick Motorsports holds a winning percentage of over 45% heading into the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan.

Generally speaking, the 400-miler on Sunday afternoon (August 22) may suit Elliott and his Hendrick stablemates. Seemingly displaying little weaknesses, perhaps Elliott’s title run starts at Michigan.

Ultimately, Elliott, on the strength of a 7.7 average finish at Michigan, understands the importance of turning up the wick. In other words, peak performance and timing coincide with each other indelibly.

Surely, Chase Elliott seeks more moments like his Independence Day victory at Road America. (Photo: Mike Moore | The Podium Finish)

Surely, Chase Elliott seeks more moments like his Independence Day victory at Road America. (Photo: Mike Moore | The Podium Finish)

“We just have to peak at the right time,” he said. “That was really what we did best last year. We just really peaked at the right time and kind of got hot for a stretch of races that were perfect timing. Unfortunately, you can’t always draw that up. That’s not just something you can just snap your fingers and make happen.

“It’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of effort. And it comes from everyone at our race shop, everyone on the road, myself, our off-track help. Everything has to really be clicking at the right time. Our playoff run is 10 week, which is a long time. Just those stretch of races, it’s tough to be at your best peak for 10 weeks. We just hope we can peak at the right time again. That’s key. We want to perform when it matters most.”

Rob Tiongson

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes.

From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat.

Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Communications at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's just as happy to be a Texan.

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