CONCORD, N.C. – In just his third season, Chase Elliott is already one of the most popular drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series.
From his skill on the track to the history of the Elliott family in racing and now the iconic No. 9 car back in the fold, fans have flocked to the 22-year-old driver.
“I don’t think I fully understand it, but I certainly appreciate it,” Elliott said in an interview with NBC Sports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. before the Brickyard 400.
Asked what it would mean if that popularity led to winning the National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award, Elliott said it would be “a great honor.”
“It’s just not one of those things that I like to go and promote myself for,” he said. “I don’t like to go out there and say, ‘Hey, vote for me.’ I want that to be a natural and a genuine thing for somebody to go and vote if they want to go vote.”
Earnhardt’s 15 consecutive most popular driver wins marked the longest streak since the award was first presented in 1953. The record for all-time most popular driver wins belongs to Bill Elliott – Chase’s father – with 16.
“Obviously with my dad’s history of it and your history of it,” the younger Elliott said to Earnhardt, “it would be kind of cool to have it between Elliotts and Earnhardts for a number of years.”
Hear more from the interview, including what Elliott does during his off-time in Dawsonville, Georgia, and how he travels back and forth to the Hendrick Motorsports campus from home every week – hint: it’s not driving – in the video below, courtesy of NBC Sports.