2 Days 'Til Daytona - Today's Featured Driver: Chase Elliott

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2021 Daytona 500.  Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the Top 30 Drivers of 2020. 


1st Place – Chase Elliott – 5040 pts


By the Numbers:


4.36 Difference in Average Finish  – Whether you see this as a sign of a flawed playoff system, or you believe it’s important for the Champion to peak at the right time, it certainly is an interesting wrinkle that Chase Elliott’s Average Finish was 4.36 spots worse than Kevin Harvick’s.  This is the same Harvick that didn’t even make the Round of 4.  Chase Elliott put together an impressive playoff performance in 2020, including back-to-back wins at the final 2 races to clinch the Championship, but Kevin Harvick’s season was the better one, overall.


2nd Most Laps Led – Chase Elliott led a total of 1,213 laps in 2020.  This amounted to 2nd best of all drivers, just behind (you guessed it!) Kevin Harvick, who finished with 1,531.  Leading laps doesn’t always equate to winning races.  In order to win a race, you really only need to lead one lap – the last one.  However, Chase leading 12.3% of all laps shows that his 5 wins in 2020 weren’t just fluky last-second passes for the win.  Hendrick engines were bringing the speed all year long, and thanks to this, Elliott consistently was in a good position to take control of races.


782 Fastest Laps – For each lap of a race, NASCAR looks at who had the best time and awards them a statistic known as a Fastest Lap.  Again, Chase finished 2nd to Kevin Harvick in this category, but it is pretty understandable when you consider how often the two of them were running up front.  The more clean air these drivers were able to find, the better their cars would handle, resulting in faster lap times. 


24.30 Career Average Finish @ Daytona – A lot has been made about the addition of more Road Courses to the 2021 schedule, and how Chase Elliott’s strength at tracks that turn both left AND right make him a strong contender for a repeat Championship.  That may be true, but you may be surprised to learn that Daytona is Elliott’s worst track on the schedule, based on a Career Average Finish of 24.30. 


7.04 Average Finish @ Road Courses – There really is something to the idea that Chase may be a repeat Champion in 2021.  With 7 Road Courses currently scheduled to take place in 2021 – the most ever – looking at Career Average Finishes at Road Courses shows us that Chase is #1.  In 12 Road Course races in his Cup Series career, Chase Elliott has a 7.04 Average Finish.  Martin Truex Jr. is the next best current Road Course ace and his Average Finish is over 3 spots worse at 10.30.


At this point, Hendrick Motorsports would be crazy to let a young talent like Chase Elliott go anywhere else.  Chase will return to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet in 2021, hoping to go for his second straight championship in his 6th full-time season at the Cup Series level.


That officially wraps up the Countdown to Daytona Series, presented by StatChat.  We hope you enjoyed the content, and look forward to continuing to break the numbers down as the 2021 season kicks off. 


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