As Chase Elliott received congratulatory bumps from members of the Phoenix field after his championship win Sunday, one nod seemed particularly meaningful.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, competing in the final race of his career, recognized the 24-year-old in a real-life passing of the torch moment.
Elliott, Johnson and Rick Hendrick later shared an embrace next to the desert track.
“This car’s going to the Hall of Fame, man,” Johnson said of Elliott on his radio. “Burn that thing down.”
The level of respect Elliott received was perhaps unusual for someone of his experience, considering drivers often don’t enter their primes until they’re 10 years older than he is right now.
But there’s no denying how special Elliott is in light of his finish to the 2020 campaign.
Elliott won at Martinsville last weekend to reach the Championship 4, then won the title on Sunday by more than two seconds over Brad Keselowski.
“This is a dream,” Elliott said. “I’m just hoping I don’t ever wake up.”
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