Story By: MORGAN OVERSTREET / HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CONCORD, NC – This weekend, Bill and Chase Elliott could become the third father-son duo to win a NASCAR Cup Series title, joining Lee and Richard Petty and Ned and Dale Jarrett.
Bill Elliott won the 1988 Cup Series champion while driving the No. 9 car.
A title performance would also give crew chief Alan Gustafson his first Cup trophy in his 16th full-time season.
CLOCKING IN: Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, turned in a stellar performance Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, overcoming several obstacles and leading a career-high 236 laps en route to his first NASCAR Cup Series win at the track. The victory secured Elliott’s first-ever berth in the Championship 4. He joined teammate Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon as Hendrick Motorsports drivers who secured a spot in the championship race by winning at Martinsville.
NAPA KNOW HOW: Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will showcase the familiar blue, white and yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme in Sunday’s championship race at Phoenix. It will be the Atlanta-based company’s first time with a driver competing for the NASCAR Cup Series title in the season finale. In February, it was announced that NAPA AUTO PARTS and Hendrick Motorsports will continue their partnership for another two seasons through 2022.
PLAYOFF PERFORMANCE: With only one race remaining in the 2020 season, Elliott leads all playoff drivers in laps led (564), points earned (364), stage points (110) and average running position (5.9) in the nine playoff races. He has also run the most laps in the top five (1,826) and the top 10 (2,500) of all drivers. Elliott has picked up the second-most top-five finishes (four) in the playoffs behind Joey Logano, who leads with five.
GUSTAFSON’S 30: No. 9 crew chief Gustafson ranks fifth among active NASCAR Cup Series crew chiefs with 30 wins. His victories have come from four different drivers: Gordon (11), Elliott (10), Mark Martin (five) and Kyle Busch (four). Gustafson has won with more drivers than any other active crew chief.
2020 SEASON: As the NASCAR Cup Series heads into the final race of the 2020 season, Elliott has already turned in a record year by picking up career bests in wins (four), laps led (1,094), top-five finishes (14) and stage wins (10). Elliott’s 21 top-10s are tied for his most at the 35-race mark, and he is 108 laps away from doubling his personal record for laps led in a single Cup season.
YOUNG BUCK: On Nov. 8, 2014, at 18 years, 11 months and 11 days, Elliott became the youngest NASCAR Xfinity Series champion when he clinched the 2014 title a week early at Phoenix. In 2020, he could become the third-youngest NASCAR Cup Series champion at 24 years, 11 months and 11 days.
PHOENIX STATS: This Sunday, Elliott will make his 10th NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix. In his previous nine starts at the 1-mile oval, the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has led a total of 249 laps – the fourth-most laps led at a track for Elliott. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native has collected two top-five finishes, five top-10s and won two stages at the Avondale, Arizona, venue.
GUSTAFSON AT PHOENIX: Gustafson will call his 32nd Cup Series race at Phoenix on Sunday. In his previous 31 races there, he has collected three wins, nine top-five results including two runner-up finishes, 20 top-10s and 680 laps led. Gustafson’s three wins are the third-most by a crew chief at Phoenix and came with three different drivers: Busch in 2005, Martin in 2009 and Gordon in 2011. He worked with the oldest winner ever at Phoenix Raceway (Martin at 50 years, 3 months and 9 days) and the track’s youngest winner ever (Busch at 20 years, 6 months and 11 days).