Chase Elliott winning the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 for the second consecutive year is somewhat of a case of déjà vu.
It’s the second straight year that Elliott has taken the pole for the “Great American Race.”
And it’s the third consecutive year that Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, has been the pole-winning crew chief for the Daytona 500: twice with Elliott and with Jeff Gordon in 2015.
Here’s where the déjà vu comes into play: back in the mid-1980s, Chase’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, also won the pole for the Daytona 500 three consecutive times (from 1985-87) – all with the same crew chief, his brother (and Chase’s uncle) Ernie Elliott.
In fact, in the six races at Daytona International Speedway from 1985 through 1987 – three Daytona 500s and three summer races – Bill and Ernie Elliott captured four poles and were outside pole winners the two other times.
“That was something that was really cool to me,” Chase Elliott said during Wednesday’s Daytona 500 media day at Daytona International Speedway. “That’s pretty special, I think, a little bit of family heritage there with Alan, and I’m proud to have, like I said, a very, very small part in that.”
The younger Elliott, last year’s NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year, took the pole for Sunday’s race with a field-best lap of 46.663 seconds at 192.872 mph. Not only was it his second consecutive pole at Daytona, it was his third career Cup pole overall.
There’s more to the story, though: the younger Elliott becomes only the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the Daytona 500 pole back-to-back in consecutive years. Of course, father Bill, is another member of that quintet.
And Bill and Chase are the fourth father-son combo to earn the pole for the “Great American Race.”
It’s also the fifth consecutive Daytona 500 pole for Chevrolet and the fifth time Hendrick Motorsports has owned the first two spots on the front row, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the outside of Elliott for Sunday’s race.
“That’s really cool to me,” Elliott said of all the related pole sitting trivia. “I’m happy to have a small part in that for sure.
“To date back, I know how much success they had down here and how much they enjoyed coming and how good Dad was at racing at this place and how good Uncle Ernie is at building motors to this day.
“It means a lot to me, so that’s pretty cool.”
What’s next? Can Chase earn his first career NASCAR Cup win this Sunday (and with Gustafson on top of the pit box)? It would continue the déjà vu theme, as father Bill is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1985, 1987) with brother Ernie also on the pit box.