Back in 2020, Chase Elliott became the first NASCAR driver in 32 years to win both the NASCAR Cup Series Most Popular Driver award and the Cup Series title in the same season. The last driver to accomplish such a feat? Chase's father, Bill Elliott, in 1988.
Driving the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, the then 24-year-old Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Cup Series Championship on November 8, 2020 at Phoenix Raceway. Ten days later, the Dawsonville, Georgia native won MPD honors for his third consecutive year, while his dad won it a whopping 16 times during his Hall of Fame career. That makes "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" the most decorated NASCAR driver in the history of the Most Popular Driver award, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. right behind him at 15. The award is voted on by NASCAR fans around the United States and presented by the National Motorsports Press Association.
"Thanks to the fans throughout this year," Elliott said after his big win. "I know it hasn't been the most normal thing ever, but you guys are awesome and I hope you enjoyed what the season had to offer."
Elliott continued, "I'm grateful for the best fans I could ever ask for. You guys show out every week when you can at the track, on the internet and all of the above, so just thank you, thank you, thank you."
Y?all are the best fans in #NASCAR!!Thank you! #MPD #di9 pic.twitter.com/7Q6rO9Xbl0
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) November 19, 2020
Besides the Elliotts, other drivers who were MPD winners and NASCAR Cup Series champions in the same year include Lee Petty (1954), Rex White (1960), Richard Petty (1964, 1974, and 1975), and Bobby Allison (1982).
Other big winners from the 2020 NASCAR Awards included Justin Allgaier, who was named Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He became the fourth driver from JR Motorsports to win the award more than once, along with Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Elliott Sadler. Zane Smith was the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Truck Series, and Jimmie Johnson won the Bill France Award of Excellence.
MORE: Georgia Bulldogs Coach Kirby Smart Inspired Chase Elliott Before His First Cup Win
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