Chase Elliott brings recent experience to quest for second straight title

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 04: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, speaks to the media during the 2021 NASCAR Championship 4 Media Day at the Phoenix Convention Center on November 04, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Sean Gardner) | Getty Images
Sean Gardner
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PHOENIX — Two of the Championship 4 drivers-Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.-have NASCAR Cup Series championships to their credit, but Elliott is the only one who can go back-to-back with a victory in Sunday’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

If Elliott can win a second straight title, he’ll join fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson as the only Cup competitors in the 21st century to win consecutive championships. Johnson won five straight from 2006 through 2010.

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The last driver before Johnson to go back-to-back was another Hendrick stalwart-Jeff Gordon in 1997 and 1998.

“I think, having gone through the motions last year, we learned a lot about ourselves and about what’s important,” Elliott said. “How to perform in a big moment is a nice thing you can carry with you forward. On the same token, we didn’t have any of that experience last year, and it worked out OK.

“I feel like, for us, we just dive into what matters, and the guy who goes the fastest and runs the best race and executes a good day on Sunday will be rewarded, and that’s where our focus is.