Chase Elliott goes for NASCAR Cup Series title No. 2 on Sunday

Chase Elliott has a chance to do something Sunday in Phoenix that his famous father, Bill, never accomplished in NASCAR: win a second championship.

Elliott is one of a revved-up quartet, joining Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell, who can win the Cup Series championship. Whoever of them finishes the highest after 312 laps at the mile-long Phoenix Raceway will take home the title.

Elliott’s father, Bill, won the series championship in 1988. Elliott won in 2020 and is excited about the possibility of taking home his second.

“Yeah, man, look, I want to win as many as I can get my hands on, right?” he said. “I think that kind of goes without saying. It’s not every year that you have an opportunity to go for one. So we’ve recognized that we are certainly proud to have made it this far. But certainly not content or happy with just making it, either.”

Elliott is the odds-on favorite, according to His experience at Phoenix helps. He won the last two races in 2020 and three of the last five that year to clinch the crown. The final victory came at Phoenix.

He said there is nothing particular about why he succeeds at Phoenix, and that it’s tough to take any lessons from 2020 and apply to them this weekend, which includes qualifying Saturday.

“I feel like the path of us getting to this point has been has been different each year,” he said. “We’d like to say that the experience of being a part of this event didn’t really matter in 2020, but hopefully will help us this year.”

As expected, Elliott said the key to a good qualifying session and a good race Sunday will be to drive fast. He said the team has prepared as much as it can, and he feels good about where he’s at and what he wants from the car.

Though Phoenix will be a full-field race, Elliott must focus only on finishing ahead of Logano, Chastain and Bell. His goal, however, is not just to finish ahead of them, but to finish first overall, which would be his 19th victory, or 25 less than his father. Elliott said he’s not particularly focused on any of his competitors because he said anyone of the four have a good chance to win.

But the main talking point will be Elliott getting a chance to one-up his dad. He said that they haven’t had any conversations outside what’s normal.

“I think we both kind of understand how this weekend works,” he said. “So, pretty normal conversations.”

Almost 2,000 miles away, there will be a group of people gathering at the Dawsonville Pool Room to watch and be ready to sound the famous siren should Elliott win. It’s a tradition that started in 1983 when Bill Elliott won his first race at Riverside, Calif.

“Like daddy always said, I just can’t believe me ringing that siren in ‘83 brought today,” said Gordon Pirkle, whose father opened the pool room 56 years ago.

Pirkle said he’s gotten calls from as far away as Delaware from people who said they will drive to Dawsonville, some arriving as early as Friday, to watch Elliott and the race.

He’s ordered 80 pounds of ground beef with the expectation of making between 600-700 patties -- a typical weekend is 400 -- to handle a crowd that will fill the 80 seats for the four TVs in the room, and those who will be in the parking lot watching on TVs they will bring.

There are four people on what Pirkle calls the Siren Crew. Should Elliott win, Pirkle said one of them will take jumper cables and hook one end to the nearest car’s battery and another to the siren.

“I think it’s super cool,” Elliott said. “I always admire hearing those stories of people traveling through town and watching the race. So, they will have a great crowd, and everybody there has a lot of fun, and hopefully we can make them proud.”