2020 NASCAR Season wrapped up with Chase Elliott Championship


Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 16, 2020; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) waves the checkered flag to the fans after winning the Go Bowling 235 Road Course at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

   Smoke filled the air as the fan-favorite, number 9 car of Chase Elliot spun around the finish line at Phoenix International Raceway,  after winning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, in a fitting end to a unique and unforgettable season.  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), is the most popular American auto racing association, with up to 40 drivers racing on Sundays throughout America from February to November. With cars going up to 200mph, driving hundreds of miles in only hours, it is a very loud, fast, and exciting sport. 

   In 2020, Covid-19 affected every sport differently in the United States, but NASCAR stood out in a positive light. NASCAR was not only the first sport to restart their season safely, but they were also the first sport to allow limited capacity for fans in their venues. Not only that, only two drivers tested positive for Covid-19 throughout the entire season, which is remarkable for the number of people involved in the sport. For a number of people, mostly fans of the sport, the quick turnaround of bringing races back provided something to look forward to in a year with very limited live sports. 

   At age 24, young phenom Chase Elliott closed this odd season with back to back race wins at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, and then at Phoenix International Raceway out west for the championship. Chase was overcome with emotion after stepping out of his car, repeating over and over again, “This is unreal.” Although this was his first championship, fans would say that it definitely will not be his last. Chase racked up 5 wins this year, along with the million-dollar all-star race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Elliott is among a group of notable up and coming drivers, including Ryan Blaney in the number 12 car at age 26, Alex Bowman in the number 88 car at age 27, and the youngest of them all, William Byron in the number 24 car at age 23. These athletes are joining the ranks of the older, experienced drivers such as Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., who are in their forties. With NASCAR being a sport where the wear and tear is mostly on the car, drivers can compete at a high level, even at ages past their prime.

   One of the oldest drivers who competed, 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson, retired at the end of the 2020 season. He is widely known as one of the greatest stock car drivers of all time, and his accomplishments on the track speak for themselves, with a whopping 84 race wins and 7 Nascar Cup Championships. He will be sorely missed by fans throughout the sport, at the start of the 2021 season in February. Come February, the world-famous Daytona 500 in Daytona, Florida will kick off the 2021 season, one that will be sure to hold many surprises, and hopefully have some semblance of normalcy.