SPEEDWAY, Ind. — official release — NASCAR photo — Records beware: Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Elliott is coming.
The second generation driver reclaimed the NASCAR Nationwide Series points lead following his third win of the season, and in doing so has positioned himself to become the first rookie in NASCAR national series history to win a series championship. He’s also zeroing in on the single-season wins record of five, held by Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004) and Carl Edwards (2005).
Elliott is the first rookie since 2005 (Edwards) to win three or more races in his rookie campaign. He also is the 10th driver in series history to win three races in his first 18. Elliott’s three wins is tied with Kyle Busch for the most this season.
To accompany his wins Elliott has posted eight top fives and 13 top 10s, an average finish of 9.1 and a season-to-date Driver Rating of 109.3 – second only to Busch and tops among championship contenders. Elliot is currently seven points ahead of teammate Regan Smith and eight points up on third-place Elliott Sadler. He will be making his series debut at Indianapolis this weekend, the track at which his father and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2002.
“It’s one of the places I look back on, I do have memories of The Brickyard win he (Bill Elliott) had, I think it was 2002,” Chase Elliott said. “That’s a special race track for me. I always love going back there ever since then knowing he has been to Victory Lane. We are going to give it our best shot.”
JR Motorsports now have won seven of the 18 races this season – Chase Elliott (Texas, Darlington and Chicago), Kevin Harvick (Richmond, Kentucky), Regan Smith (Daytona-1) and Kasey Kahne (Daytona-2). The team has led the driver points after 17 of 18 races this season (Elliott Sadler was the lone outlier, leading the points after Kentucky).