A dynamic NASCAR Championship Weekend in Avondale was capped in fitting style, as underdog Chase Elliott rallied from a last place starting position to cross the Phoenix Raceway finish line first in the Series Finale 500.
He roared to his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship at the age of 24—the youngest champion in 25 years.
In the big race Sunday, Nov. 8, Elliott won by 2.74 seconds over Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing finished fourth.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, 45, was fifth in his final race as a full-time driver. During the Championship Weekend events, Johnson was honored with a street being renamed after him near the Avondale track.
Johnson was the first to congratulate Elliott in the pit land.
“Awesome, awesome, awesome,” Elliott screamed into his team radio after taking the checkered flag. “We are the champions!”
Elliott took the lead from Logano for good with 42 laps of the 312-lap race remaining. It showed his determination after his car failed pre-race inspection Sunday morning and had to start last.
In a tweet, Phoenix Raceway thanked fans “for an amazing first NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway! We will never forget it. Let’s do it all again next year!”