NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott fans can root for: No. 3 – William Byron
Hendrick Motorsports have just two of their four drivers in this year’s playoffs, and William Byron has looked like the man to beat all year. After entering the season with four wins in five seasons, he has already more than doubled his career win total with five victories in 2023, two more than anybody else.
While it was Kasey Kahne whom Byron replaced when he arrived at Hendrick Motorsports in 2018, it was Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet, previously driven by the legendary Jeff Gordon, which he took over.
The team sidelined the No. 5 and brought back the No. 9 for Elliott instead, only to bring back the No. 5 a few years later when Kyle Larson joined the organization as Jimmie Johnson’s replacement, eliminating the No. 88 and moving Alex Bowman to Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet.
Yes, you could argue that Elliott and Hendrick race fans could also pull for Larson, as he too is in the playoffs once again in 2023.
But while Larson was two laps down and trying to push Elliott to the win at Daytona International Speedway and might very well have done so before the caution flag flew, thus sending him to the back of the field, I can’t see Elliott fans being too quick to forgive the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for some of their past instances of on-track run-ins — especially as teammates.