NASCAR: Chase Elliott has officially ended a 32-year streak

Chase Elliott officially ended a 32-year streak on Wednesday night when he was named the winner of the Most Popular Driver Award of the NASCAR Cup Series.

As everybody expected, NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott secured his third consecutive Most Popular Driver Award on Wednesday evening.

He has effectively taken over as the sport’s most popular driver since the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the award for 15 straight seasons leading up to his 2017 retirement, as Elliott has not failed to win it after that.

As a result of the 24-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia native officially winning this award for 2020, he ended a 32-year streak that he had been positioned to end after winning the 2020 championship two Sundays ago.

Since his father Bill won the 1988 championship and won the Most Popular Driver Award for the fifth of what ended up being a record 16 times that year, the winner of the championship and Most Popular Driver Award had been different every year.

Elliott, who secured his first career title in his fifth season of full-time competition by winning the season finale at Phoenix Raceway just one week after securing his first career Championship 4 berth by winning at Martinsville Speedway, ended that streak, becoming the first driver to win both in the same year since his father pulled it off in 1988.

Bill Elliott won the award from 1984 through 1988 and then from 1991 through 2000, as Darrell Waltrip won it in both 1989 and 1990. Bill won it for the 16th and final time in 2002 after after Dale Earnhardt was awarded it posthumously in 2001. He withdrew his name from future ballots, and that began Dale Jr.’s 15-year run, which lasted from 2003 through 2017.

Chase Elliott is just the sixth driver to win both the title and the award in the same year. Prior to Bill’s 1988 triumph, the four drivers who pulled this off were Lee Petty (1954), Rex White (1960), Richard Petty (1964, 1974 and 1975) and Bobby Allison (1982).

Truck Series runner-up Zane Smith and Xfinity Series runner-up Justin Allgaier won the Most Popular Driver Awards in their respective series this past season.