NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Judging from all the No. 9 team hats and T-shirts sprinkled through the stands all season long – not to mention the crowd reaction for each of his three wins in 2019 – it’s clear Chase Elliott has quite a fanbase.
At the year-end NASCAR Cup Series awards banquet, just how popular Elliott has become was once again put on display.
Thursday evening in Nashville, Tennessee, he was named the winner of the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award presented by Hooters.
It marked the 24-year-old driver’s second consecutive win. He’s now only 14 Most Popular Driver awards short of his NASCAR Hall of Fame father, Bill Elliott, who holds the all-time record with 16 of the honors.
“That would be great,” the younger Elliott smiled when asked on-stage about one day catching his dad’s total. “I’m honored to have two. Last year I was honored to have one.”
In 2019, Elliott made the playoffs for the fourth time in a row to start his career, reaching the Round of 8 for the third consecutive season.
In the spring, he put together five straight top-five finishes, the longest streak of his career. He matched his season-best win total of three and secured new career highs with four pole positions and 601 laps led.
“It’s been a really cool year,” he said.
Most importantly to Elliott, the most popular driver honor comes directly from the fans, who were able to vote for their favorite driver once per day with balloting open for four months.
“It’s really more than a trophy or an award, it’s really more about the people that you see at the racetrack,” the driver said, giving a shoutout to the fans in attendance at the banquet. “Just enjoy seeing that, enjoy seeing people at the racetrack that are wearing your hat or wearing your T-shirt and want to see you do good. That’s the stuff that really drives me. I enjoyed that a lot about this past season.”