Chase Elliott, popular as he is, has not been immune to critics. “He’s only popular because of his dad.” “They brought him up to the Cup series too soon.” I’ve been guilty of this one: “He’s got what it takes to compete, but he can’t close the deal.”
That dog won’t hunt anymore. With his victory at Watkins Glen, Chase Elliott is in the playoffs and off the schnide.
His first career victory at NASCAR’s top level came in his 99th start. Prior to this, Chase Elliott finished second eight times. For those who believed, it was just a matter of time.
This wasn’t some blind squirrel lucking up on a random acorn. No one will ever confuse Watkins Glen with Talladega. If you win on a road course, you’ve done something in NASCAR. Not only was the course tricky, so was his competition. Check this video out for how the 22-year old held off defending champion Martin Truex Jr. He earned it.
You saw how Elliott almost give it up on Turn One. The 9 wheel hopped, and he said he popped it out of gear while trying to regain his bearings. Truex almost caught him, but got sideways. “He did a good job of putting his car exactly where it needed to be and not making a mistake” said the 2017 champion.
So not only does Chase Elliott get that zero off his record, he does so at a tough track, holding off a tough competitor. Now it’s on to Michigan, to see if he can continue building on he’s accomplished. At the Irish Hills, the driver who gave Hendrick Motorsports their first victory of 2018 and their 250th overall, has finished second three times. It sets up a heck of a battle with Kyle Larson.
It does seem that one win will lead to another for a talented driver who’s finally kicked the door down. The critics have been quieted.