NNS: Rookie Elliott’s Title Pursuit is History in the Making

RaceChaser Staff Carolinas Racing, Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

CONCORD, N.C. — official release — Nick Laham/Getty Images North America photo — The NASCAR Nationwide Series is on the verge of history, as current standings leader and JR Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott can possibly etch his name in the records books by becoming the first Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.

Despite his competition, Elliott can clinch the title if he finishes fifth or better in the final four races of the season.

The closest a rookie has come to winning the series title prior to this season was Kyle Busch in 2004, when he finished runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. in the final standings.

Elliott is currently 38 points ahead of his teammate Regan Smith in second and 40 points ahead of Richard Childress Racing’s driver Ty Dillon in third.

Elliott’s title feat would be a fitting ‘storybook’ ending to a season that has dazzled fans. The 18 year old has posted three wins (Darlington, Texas and Chicago), 14 top fives, 23 top 10s and an average finish of 8.0. His season-to-date Driver Rating (109.3) and Average Running Position (6.932) are both tops among the series championship contenders.

If Elliott locks the title down this will be team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first as owner of JR Motorsport. The team’s previous best standings finish was third – twice (Brad Keselowski, 2008 and Regan Smith, 2013).

Earnhardt has given many of the sport’s brightest stars a chance in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at JR Motorsports, names like Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola to name a few. This weekend JR Motorsports will welcome Alex Bowman to the squad. He will be piloting the No. 5 Chevrolet this weekend joining Elliott and Smith on the grid.

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