(Cover Photo Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
4th Place – Chase Elliott – 5,009 pts
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CHEVROLET
857 Laps Led in 2022 – Top of the class, Chase Elliott led the most laps of anyone in 2022. Elliott is no stranger to being up front - he led nearly 100 more in 2021 as well. While clearly the No. 9 team at Hendrick Motorsports knows how to put fast cars together, driver input can’t be fully ignored. Having a fast car is only half of the battle – knowing what to do with it is key. Elliott has a knack for being in control of races, and while 2022 might not have been his best finish, he’s still among the top contenders, and will be for years to come.
2,360 Quality Passes in 2022 – Another area Chase Elliott excels is passing, particularly when up front. A Quality Pass is a pass made under green while driving in the Top 15. As noted earlier, Chase is no stranger to the front of the pack, but he also seems to be able to pass the stiffer competition that rides up there with him. His 2,360 Quality Passes was also the top number among Cup Series charters in 2022.
10.97 Average Running Position in 2022 – On average, in 2022, Chase Elliott was running 11th. That may not sound super impressive, but average running position is calculated by averaging what place you’re running at EVERY lap. So when you’re leading, sure, you’re making that number fall down, but when you’re a lap down, or way in the back, sometimes for a long time, that number grows quickly. Elliott’s 10.97 was also first among all Cup Series charters.
5 Wins in 2022 – In a season with 19 different winners, there weren’t many other wins available. Chase Elliott again led the field in this category, winning five times in 2022. Eventual champion Joey Logano had four, and no other driver had more than three. It’s sad that Elliott’s season ended with a 28th place finish at season finale in Phoenix, leading to him being the lowest finisher of the Championship Four. It’s a product of the current playoff system that Elliott didn’t earn his second championship in 2022.
36th-Placed Finish at the Southern 500 in 2022 – Speaking of the playoff format, Chase Elliott was nearly eliminated from the first round after a last-placed finish at the Southern 500, which also was the first race of the playoffs. Elliott had earned himself plenty of playoff points throughout the season just for situations like this, but he certainly didn’t make it easy on himself. Luckily he bounced back with an 11th and 2nd at Kansas and Bristol, respectively. Elliott eventually made the final four.
It would be crazy to think that NASCAR’s most popular driver would not be a top priority to bring back to a team. Hendrick Motorsports signed Elliott to an extension early in 2022, so look for him to return to the No. 9 Chevrolet in 2023.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Christopher Bell!
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