“Well that escalated quickly.”
The words of Ron Burgundy rang true for Chase Elliott, who will officially replace the legendary Jeff Gordon in 2016. No pressure right? Here’s a look at what this might mean for the 2015 Sprint Cup season and beyond.
Odds Elliott Never Runs the #24: 1/2
Richard Petty offered Elliott the No. 9, a number Bill Elloitt ran for years. On one hand, Chase wants to set his own legacy. On the other hand, can you imagine trying to replace someone like Gordon? Retiring the No. 24 seems right for all sides if possible.
Odds Chase Elliott Makes the 2016 Chase: 3/1
The plan is for Elliott to only run five Sprint Cup races in 2015. While it doesn’t seem fair for consider someone so green for a Chase spot, all Elliott has to do is win one 2016 race. With Daytona and Talladega on tap and tracks like Texas where Elliott has won in the past, it’s fair to think he could win and sneak in. Alan Gustafson’s a pretty astute crew chief and can easily position Elliott to a win as well.
Odds Every Other Owns Is Breathing Easier: 1/236
Silly season is already out of control. Rumors would have been spread; denials would and would not occur; distractions would abound. Teams don’t have to worry about this major distraction for at least a few more weeks.
Odds Chase Elliott Is More Joey Logano Than Jeff Gordon: Even Money
There’s not a Nascar fan around who should be surprised that Elliott found a Sprint Cup ride with a great team like Hendrick Motorsports. There hasn’t been a prospect this well regarded since Logano. I don’t want to be critical of Logano, but fans should remember all the talk about giving Logano time to get experience in the Nationwide Series, how that changed when Tony Stewart left and the growing pains Logano endured. He became a star with Roger Penkse, not Joe Gibbs.
Chase Elliott will chase a tittle; I’m supremely confident in that statement. But it’s fair to wonder how any young driver adjusts to Sprint Cup racing, even someone with Elliott’s pedigree. Things will certainly escalate quickly for Elliott in 2016.