- Elliot was supposed to start in first, but his car failed Pre-race inspection.
- He advanced into the top 10 by the competition caution on lap 30 of 312, And finished third in Stage 1.
- He finished 2nd in Stage 2 after 2-Brad Keselowski made a “Slide Job,” when a driver charges into a corner further than his/her competitor(s) and purposely slides up in front to make the pass, on the Final Lap.
- Elliott led the most laps in the final 100-lap stage.
Chase Elliott showed extreme patience while he made his way through the slower traffic. “We had to make our way through the field.” Elliott said in an interview to an NBC Sports Network reporter at the track, “So, we knew what our car had in traffic” (“NASCAR On”). He led 151 of 312 laps, which was approximately 50% of the laps run.He was the second-highest favored driver going into the race.
Elliott took a huge step forward in his maturity too. He never got worried; he was never anxious. He was as poised as he ever was. He was patient, just patient. “We had a great car.” Elliott said “Alan [Gustafson] is a Champion crew chief” (“NASCAR”}.
He made an otherwise hard-to-watch race entertaining. NASCAR created a situation where the broadcasters predominantly focused on the Championship 4, so they diligently covered his progress. If he wasn’t competing for a championship, he would have otherwise been disregarded and his progress would have been ignored.
Take Ryan Blaney, Keselowski’s teammate who was previously eliminated, for example. Blaney finished 4th in Stage 1, 5th in Stage 2 and 6th overall, earning a grand total of 41 points (5+5+31) and his performance was ignored unless he was around a Championship 4 contender. Jimmy Johnson, in his final race, like Clint Bowyer, were unfairly disregarded. Johnson finished 5th and Bowyer 9th, respectively.
Cole Custer was officially named Rookie of the Year, in which he could have parked in the garage after lap one in every race after he won at Kentucky, and still won the award. Philosophically, winning a race should not guarantee you a spot in the playoffs; but that is a discussion for a different time.
Overall, I will rate it 65%,But at least NASCAR was able to crown their respective series champions this season.