Chase Elliott comes from a famous pedigree, yet he made his own spotlight in 2014.
The son of Bill Elliott wrapped up the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship last Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, yet it didn’t lessen the glory. After finishing 17th, the youngster grabbed the official championship flag and performed a burnout of his own. The combination of JR Motorsports equipment, leadership from boss Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and passion burning inside his being proved to be a winning one. Elliott becomes the first rookie and the youngest driver to claim the NNS title.
The beginning of a driver’s legacy coincides with the end of a sponsorship era. After Nationwide downsizes to sponsoring JRM, it will become NASCAR Xfinity Series. Nationwide will definitely be missed; their dedication to the sport is admirable, and things just won’t be the same.
Matt Kenseth won the race, holding off Kyle Larson in two green-white-checkered finishes. Larson’s performance mirrored the one he gave Friday night, dominant for a majority of the event. Unfortunately, late-race incidents deterred him from winning in both instances. If he keeps it up, he may secure his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win Sunday evening.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series is now a thing of the past, yet its reputation will live on. Constantly criticized, always under review, the second-tier series was something else. Being tainted by Cup drivers didn’t help it out much. However, as a new chapter begins, a clean slate appears. It’s now the time to shape fans’ perception of the series.
Two-thirds of the sport’s final weekend is officially over, setting up expectations for the NSCS race. Despite this, they won’t crown an eighteen-year-old champion. And it doesn’t get any cooler than that.