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CHASE ELLIOTT WINS 2020 NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP ON NBC

“This is the dream. I just hope I never wake up.” – Chase Elliott in Post-Race Interview with Kelli Stavast

“It’s so good for this sport to see one of the youth in Chase Elliott win a championship so young and so early in his career.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Elliott

“NASCAR’s most popular driver…and now he’ll become even more popular.” – Jeff Burton on Elliott

“I believe he has been the most underrated superstar of any sport that I’ve ever seen.” – Dale Jarrett on Jimmie Johnson

STAMFORD, Conn.Nov. 8, 2020Chase Elliott won the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship on Sunday afternoon on NBC, his first career Cup Series title, as he outdueled fellow Championship 4 contenders Brad Keselowski (2nd), Joey Logano (3rd), and Denny Hamlin (4th) at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.

RACE RESULTS
PositionDriverCar#
1Chase Elliott9
2Brad Keselowski2
3Joey Logano22
4Denny Hamlin11
5Jimmie Johnson48

NBC Sports’ lead NASCAR race announcer Rick Allen called the action live from Phoenix Raceway alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte, “The Mayor” of NASCAR Jeff Burton and two-time Daytona 500 champion and recent NASCAR Hall of Fame selection Dale Earnhardt Jr. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman provided reports from pit road.

NBC Sports’ 90 minutes of pre-race coverage on NBC began at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR America and Countdown to Green, hosted by Krista Voda with analysts Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty. Analyst Brad Daugherty contributed on-site from Phoenix while NBC Sports’ Rutledge Wood engaged fans remotely using #HeyRut, including multiple live look-ins to the Dawsonville Pool Room in Elliott’s hometown.

Pre-race coverage on NBC included:

The following are highlights from this afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship race coverage on NBC:

POST-RACE COVERAGE

Elliott in post-race interview to Kelli Stavast: “I’m at a loss for words. We did it…I just can’t say enough about our group. I feel like we took some really big strides this year and last week was a huge one…this is unreal…I just never thought that this year would have gone like it has.”

Elliott: “All you can dream for is opportunity and I’ve been very fortunate to have that over the years. My parents obviously have played a huge role…thanks to Team Hendrick and everyone at the shop that peaked at the right time. That’s all we can ask for…this is the dream. I just hope I never wake up.”

Earnhardt Jr. on Elliott: “It’s so good for this sport to see one of the youth in Chase Elliott -- that lineage, that last name, that history -- be victorious and win a championship so young and so early in his career. Just think about the things that he will be able to accomplish beyond this now that he is a champion. An awesome day for not only Chase and his team, but the whole sport. This year has been so hard on our sport and the leadership really stepped up.”

Burton: “The way he did it was incredible…two wins in a row to ultimately win the championship. As a driver, that’s what you dream of. Those are the things that you want. As a kid, you don’t play basketball in the backyard and hit a shot with three minutes to go, you hit it with three seconds to go. And that’s what Chase Elliott did at Martinsville and did it today.”

Letarte: “Has Rick Hendrick done it again? Has he found another young protégé to be the superstar to go on a massive run of wins and championships? The lineage is there, his dad is a Hall of Famer…so young, to have so much success…there’s no telling how far this can carry this organization.”

Earnhardt Jr.: “All of these drivers coming up to Chase Elliott -- it tells you how well-liked and respected he is amongst his peers for how he drives on the race track, the way he treats them off the race track. He’s going to be a popular champion.”

Letarte: “We talk about a lot about different ways to win a race. In the end, Chase Elliott just went out and took it.”

Allen on Johnson and Elliott embrace: “Is that a passing of the torch right there?”

Earnhardt Jr.: “It could be a handoff, Chase may go and make his run at seven titles.”

Johnson in post-race interview to Dave Burns: “My heart is full. I’m just so happy to have this wonderful and so many great people behind me, first and foremost my wife, Chandra, who’s been behind me every step of the way...it’s been a great run. I’ve had 19 years in the Cup Series, two years in the Xfinity Series, I’ve met so many wonderful people, worked for great people and with great people. I’ve learned so many lessons in and out of the car…this has been a great journey and I’m ready to spend my time a little differently.”

RACE COVERAGE

Allen on Elliott: “The 24-year-old from Dawsonville, Georgia, is about to join his father Bill in elite company. Chase Elliott is a NASCAR Cup Series champion!”

Burton on Bill Elliott: “Bill Elliott is a great example of a dad with tons of experience, has been there and knows how to win and is one of the biggest names in the sport. But he’s smart enough to know that Chase Elliott has had to make his own mistakes and make his own way. Always there and always supportive, but letting Chase do it the way he wants to do it.”

Burton on Elliott: “NASCAR’s most popular driver…and now he’ll become even more popular.”

Snider on Hamlin with 29 laps to go: “You can hear the frustration in Denny Hamlin’s voice. He has only said one word over the radio on this run – ‘tight.’ It seems the further this race has gone on, they have really gotten away from the handling.”

Burton on Keselowski with 30 laps to go: “The pit stops have just not been good enough for this team today. That’s what has really hurt Brad Keselowski.”

Letarte on Jimmie Johnson: “The Jimmie Johnson I knew when he first walked into Hendrick Motorsports in 2001 is the same Jimmie Johnson now…a great career, an even better guy, a great dad. We are going to miss him.”

PRE-RACE COVERAGE

Jarrett on Chase Elliott: “2020 has been a breakout year for him (with) four wins already this season. Last week’s win was nothing short of spectacular and that told me everything I needed to know about this driver in a big moment situation…he seems ready and poised to get the job done, I don’t care that he has to come from the back.”

Petty on Chase Elliott: “Last week’s race, he showed who Chase Elliott is and what Chase Elliott can do. He’s like Dale Jarrett, (Dale Earnhardt) Jr., and myself. You grew up around the sport, grew up in it, you’ve seen it all, experienced it with your dad. You learn things along the way you didn’t even know you were learning. And now you are thrust into that position where the weight of the world and all the eyes are on you to win the Championship, and you’re calm.”

Petty on Joey Logano: “We talk about aggressiveness, I think he just has a fierce drive. He has an intense focus and he has a desire to win that I saw my whole life. I sat across the kitchen table from it and watched my dad (Richard Petty) eat supper. Dad was the same way -- win, win, win, that’s what it was all about…that’s an intangible and Joey has that intangible.”

Petty on Denny Hamlin: “He is one of the best drivers the sport has ever seen, I don’t think anyone will question that. But every year for the past 10 years, we’ve said ‘man, at some point during the season, this is Denny Hamlin’s season and he is going to get it done.’ 10 years ago, we were saying ‘when’ and the past few years, we have started to change the ‘when’ to ‘if Denny Hamlin gets it done.’…at the end of the day, is today now? He has to make today his now and move forward from that.”

Daugherty on Denny Hamlin: “Denny Hamlin has an opportunity today to…cement his legacy as one of the greats all-time (in NASCAR).”

Jarrett on Jimmie Johnson: “It’s unfortunate the way this year has turned out, as far as the fans not being able to be there to send Jimmie off in the proper way, but it’s kind of been the way that his career has gone. I believe he has been the most underrated superstar of any sport that I’ve ever seen.”

Petty: “Wins become memories, trophies will tarnish eventually…but the lives you change will last forever because it continues to pay forward…you will not find anybody in this sport, outside of this sport, that doesn’t have the kindest words and the nicest things to say about him. That’s his legacy…nice guys do finish first, Jimmie is the poster child for that.”

--NBC SPORTS--