NASCAR legacy driver Chase Elliott drove to his first Cup Series championship winning the Series Finale 500 at the Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.
Elliott needed a win last week in Martinsville just to make the Championship 4, but once he got in the field, he grabbed the lead after the Stage 2 finish and sailed to a victory.
He is 20 days short of his 25th birthday, which makes him the youngest Cup Series winner since Jeff Gordon in 1995. Elliott's father, Bill Elliott, won a Cup championship in 1988, and this makes the Elliotts one of three pairs of father-son champions. Ned and Dale Jarrett and Lee and Richard Petty also won championships.
"I'm at a loss for words," Chase Elliott said after climbing out of his car. "It's unbelievable. Oh, my gosh. … We did it."
The four Championship 4 drivers finished 1-2-3-4. Brad Keselowski was second, while Joey Logano was third and Denny Hamlin fourth. Hamlin won seven races this season. Nine-race winner Kevin Harvick finished seventh Sunday.
Elliott is the fourth driver to win a championship for car owner Rick Hendrick, but this is crew chief Alan Gustafson's first. Gustafson has served as a Cup Series crew chief since 2005 for Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin, Gordon and Elliott, and while he has had 13 top 10 finishes and five in the top five, he never finished first. He directed Martin to second in 2009, and Gordon finished third with him in the box in 2015.
Elliott has won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver contest the past two years. His father won the contest in 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002.