Close but no cigar has been the story of Chase Elliott’s first two years in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but don’t expect that trend to continue much longer.
Jeff Gordon said Wednesday that, given the speed and versatility Elliott has shown, he’ll make his first trip to victory lane in no time at all, according to Motorsport.com.
When Gordon hasn’t been in the FOX Sports broadcast booth, he’s watched multiple races from atop Elliott’s pit box. Elliott, who will drive the No. 9 in 2018, said ahead of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that “it’s been a great honor” to carry on Gordon’s legacy by wheeling the No. 24.
“Once he breaks through — and when you’re that good on a short track, intermediate, super speedways, all of them — it’s a matter of time,” Gordon said.
As if that wasn’t already a glowing review, Gordon went even further. The four-time Cup champion said Elliott’s pursuit of his first win is reminiscent of Jimmie Johnson’s quest for its maiden title.
“It reminds me of Jimmie Johnson trying to win a championship, he was right there, really competitive and once he broke through in 2005-06, you saw it coming,” Gordon told Motorsport.com. “The same thing will happen with Chase, he’s currently in the mindset of ‘what do I have to do to win’ instead of ‘I’m going to this race and I’m going to win.’ “
In 77 winless races, Elliott finished second on seven occasions, and was punted out of the lead by Denny Hamlin at Martinsville Speedway during the playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via Lee Luther Jr./USA TODAY Sports Images