NASCAR: 5 drivers for Chase Elliott fans to root for in the playoffs

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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With Chase Elliott out of championship contention, who should the fans of the most popular NASCAR Cup Series driver pull for throughout the playoffs?

For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott failed to qualify for the playoffs. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet finished the 26-race regular season with a top 10 points per race average, but he missed six events with an injury and one due to a suspension. His lack of a win cost him his seven-year playoff streak.

Also coming to an end were his series-high streaks of seven straight round of 12 appearances, seven straight top 10 points finishes, six straight round of 8 appearances, three straight Championship 4 appearances, and 134 straight races of being a championship-eligible driver.

With Elliott’s elimination, who can the fans of the sport’s most popular driver pull for in the playoffs?

NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott fans can root for: No. 1 – Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney has to be the most obvious answer here for the simple fact that he and Chase Elliott remain close friends away from the track. The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford was one of the first to congratulate his buddy when he won the 2020 championship, to which Elliott responded by telling him that he too would be champion one day.

Team Penske and Ford might not have had the best of seasons, but a recent resurgence by the manufacturer could allow for some surprises throughout the next 10 weeks. The Coca-Cola 600 winner, who made it all the way to last year’s round of 8 despite being the only winless playoff driver, is primed to benefit.