CONCORD, N.C. – While Chase Elliott may be the sport’s most popular driver for the second year in a row, he knows he didn’t do it alone.
“It takes a lot of votes to make it happen, so just a big thank you to everybody that voted,” he said. “I do really appreciate it. It’s more than a trophy or a sticker or an award, really and truly.”
After receiving the National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award presented by Hooters during last weekend’s awards banquet, the driver made sure to thank his fans profusely for their support throughout his entire career.
But it was also important to Elliott to recognize what his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, accomplished in making the Elliott name iconic in the sport.
The Hall of Famer won an all-time record 16 Most Popular Driver Awards, and his son knows that has played a key role as he has assumed the current most popular driver mantle.
“To have now I guess 18 awards going back to Dawsonville, Georgia, I think is pretty cool,” the driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE said. “Obviously, I think a lot of that is due to him and his career and what he and his family have built. Certainly, it’s not all me and what I’ve done. I haven’t done a drop in the bucket compared to what they did.”
But Elliott did double his career win total in 2019, tacking on three wins a year after securing the first three NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2018. And he once again advanced to the Round of 8 in the Cup Series playoffs for the third consecutive season.
It means a lot to him that while he has plenty of fans in his own right, it seems many of his father’s fans have become supporters of the current No. 9 team.
“I think the Elliott fans have been fans for a long time,” he said. “I see that and I think you have to recognize what’s been built by my family and try to carry it forward the best you can and go do my job.”
After a year in which he matched his season-best win total of three and secured new career highs with four pole positions and 601 laps led, Elliott said he was both honored and humbled by receiving the Most Popular Driver Award.
Now he’s ready for even more success in 2020.
“I just really enjoyed this past season and seeing all the people who are at the racetrack that want to see us do good,” he said. “You can genuinely feel that, and it goes a long way. I appreciate it and hopefully I can try to make everybody proud next year, too.”