CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott has wrapped up the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship.
Needing to secure just four points in Sunday's race at Watkins Glen International, Elliott locked up the honor with the completion of stage one. He would go on to finish fourth in the event.
The regular season title will give Elliott an additional 15 playoff points. At the start of the 10-race postseason, those points will be added to his already accumulated total of 25 playoff points, thanks to four wins as well as five stage wins so far this season.
"We’ve never really gone into the playoffs having any large amount of bonus points," Elliott told HendrickMotorsports.com. "We’ve had a few here and there, which has been nice, but we’ve certainly never positioned ourselves to get those extra 15."
Elliott’s four victories tops the series for 2022 and have come at Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. He also has 10 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and 688 laps led through the first 25 races - all those marks are the best in the series.
RELATED: Elliott highlights Hendrick Motorsports' road course winners
The season-long steadiness by Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team has impressed the team president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Andrews.
"I think it’s a tremendous statement of the consistency and the performance of that team," Andrews told HendrickMotorsports.com. "As competitive as this season has been with 15 different winners to this point and as close as some of those points races are, it’s a testament to Alan (Gustafson, crew chief), Chase and that whole race team to earn that."
In Elliott’s Cup Series career to date, the 26-year-old driver has reached the Championship 4 round twice. He won at Martinsville Speedway in 2020 to reach the title round before winning his first Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native made the title round on points in 2021 and finished fifth in the championship race and fourth in the final standings.
RELATED: Learn more about the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team
Even though Elliott carries at least 40 points into the start of the playoffs (as well as the Round of 12 and Round of 8 as long as he advances through to those rounds and he can add to the total prior to the start of the Round of 8), he isn’t taking anything for granted.
"I don't think any number is safe," Elliott said last month when asked about the potential to carry a cushion in points coming into the playoffs. "We've seen guys have a massive amount of playoff points and still not make the Championship 4. It doesn't guarantee you a shot to race at Phoenix (Raceway), but you better your odds and I think the more you can hedge that bet, the better."
Elliott is the fifth driver to win the regular season crown since NASCAR started awarding this in 2017. This is also the second straight season that a Hendrick Motorsports driver has earned the honor, with Kyle Larson also accomplishing it in 2021. The other drivers to win the regular season title are: Martin Truex Jr. (2017), Kyle Busch (2018 and 2019) and Kevin Harvick (2020). To date, three drivers – Truex, Busch (2019) and Larson - have won the overall title in the same season as winning the regular season championship.