CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott is experiencing a few firsts this week as he prepares for the championship race at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE said it’s going to take his entire time to claim the NASCAR Cup Series title, not just him driving well.
“I certainly can’t do it by myself; I never try to do it by myself because it doesn’t work like that,” Elliott said. “We all have to band together and understand that it takes every part and piece to win a championship, for sure … From my experience, you’re not going to do it alone, so I think we all know that and have to be at our very best this weekend to have a shot.”
Sunday marks the first time Elliott has made it to a Championship 4 race. The past few seasons he’s locked himself into the Round of 8 but he has never been able to make it over that hump. Elliott’s clinching win at Martinsville last Sunday not only automatically gave him a birth in the championship race, but it propelled him to second in the standings.
The 24-year-old driver has been leaning on his dad as he prepares for the final race of the season. Father Bill Elliott won the NASCAR Cup Series title in 1988.
“I'm very lucky,” Elliott said. “My dad, obviously, has had great success over the years, has been around this deal for a long time. Obviously, Jimmie is a great one to lean on, too. For me, the big thing from talking to Dad that I feel like he's mentioned is just enjoy these moments because these aren't things you can take for granted. You don't know when your last race win is. You don't what tomorrow brings. Nothing's guaranteed, right?”
When it comes to getting ready for Sunday, it’s business as usual for Elliott and the No. 9 team. He said constantly working on the small details is what makes or breaks earning a championship, adding that he is building on his seventh-place finish from the March race at the Arizona track.
“Looking to Phoenix, I think what is going to make the difference out there is a good week of preparation, a good week of making the right decisions on the car, taking what we had there in the spring and tweaking on it, making it better,” Elliott said. “You're not going to go back there with what we had in the spring and be good. Everybody is always getting better, always improving.”
Tune in to NBC on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET to watch Elliott compete for his first Cup Series title.