Chase Elliott reverses course following Texas victory, potentially signaling a turnaround in his fortunes

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Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott unconventionally celebrated his victory after a race that could mark a turning point in his career.

The 28-year-old driver, part of NASCAR’s most successful team, finally broke a winless streak of 42 races spanning over 18 months with a thrilling win at Texas Motor Speedway.

He crossed the finish line amidst a flurry of caution flags, a fitting tribute to the late Alan Kulwicki, a legendary driver from a bygone era who was similar to Elliott’s father in many ways.

Elliott drove the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, adorned in the iconic orange paint scheme of Hooters, replicating Kulwicki’s distinctive victory lap driving backward, a gesture brimming with emotion for Elliott.

“It was a special moment for me,” Elliott reflected. “Alan Kulwicki was someone I admired, especially considering he once outraced my dad.”

Kulwicki’s legacy lives on, as his unique celebration is fondly remembered by fans, and Elliott’s homage was a heartfelt nod to the sport’s rich history.

Chase Elliott (Credits:

“After the race, I felt like we finally had the chance to honor him and our partnership,” Elliott explained.

“It’s amazing to see how things have come full circle with his championship win, beating my dad, and now their partnership with us. It’s been a long time coming for them, for me, and for our team. It’s really special when you think about it.”

Kulwicki’s last victory was at Pocono on June 14, 1992, before he tragically passed away in a plane crash the following April at the age of 38.

The win at Texas marked the fifth victory of the season for Rick Hendrick’s team, which celebrated its 40th anniversary with a 1-2-3 finish at Martinsville the week before, where Elliott finished behind William Byron and Kyle Larson.

Elliott, who has been voted NASCAR’s most popular driver for the past six years, had a challenging season last year, missing six races due to a snowboarding accident and serving a one-race suspension.

Despite this, he finished 17th, the only time he failed to finish in the top 10 or secure a playoff spot since joining the Cup series full-time in 2016, but still managed to achieve 15 top-10 finishes.

His victory at Texas, his first since Talladega in October 2022, marked his third consecutive top-five finish this season.

Chase Elliott

“I don’t think we struggle at the racetrack or perform poorly. We’ve done quite well,” crew chief Alan Gustafson explained. “On average, we finish in fourth place during races, which is a strong position.

But to consistently win like we want to, there’s that last 10% we need to reach. It’s tough to match the level the 24-car has been at lately. We’re close, but we need a bit more. I wouldn’t say we’re failing.”

The No. 24 car is driven by Byron, who has won three races this season and six last year, including Hendrick’s 300th victory at Texas in September. Between Elliott’s wins, the team has 15 victories, with Larson winning the other six.

Finally, Elliott has returned to Victory Lane for the 19th time in his Cup career.

“It feels good to contribute,” Elliott remarked. “In this 40th season for Rick, I’m grateful he’s stuck with me and believed in me. He makes sure I know that. I’m thankful for it. It’s much more enjoyable when we can all contribute to the team’s success.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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