SPARTA, Ky. - JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest NASCAR national series champion Nov. 8 when by clinching his first Nationwide Series title with a fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway at the age of 18 years, 11 months and 18 days.

Elliott also becomes the first rookie to win a NASCAR national series championship. He and his father, Bill, Lee and Richard Petty, Ned and Dale Jarrett along with Dale and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., are the only father-son combinations to earn NASCAR national series championships. 

"This truly has been a dream come true for me to be able to be competing this season," Elliott said. "At this race a year ago, we had no plans of racing Nationwide this season. It was uncertain what our future was going to be. NAPA Auto Parts, they really stepped up and made it all possible. We were able to have a good season and it's not over, so hopefully we can have a good week at Homestead."    

Elliott rolls into the season finale with three victories, 16 top-five finishes and 26 top-10 finishes through 32 races this season.

The favorite to earn series rookie of the year honors credits his successful title run to a team that helped him quickly acclimate to NASCAR racing.

"I never would've even believed this was in the future by any means. I began the season new to it. I had only run a handful of truck races last year," Elliott said. "Just a lot of new things we hadn't seen before. I feel like a lot of it is due to the group of guys I was able to work with. Those guys were really bringing me just superfast racecars every single week.

"Being able to show up at the racetrack and know that we have fast cars, that goes a long way as a driver, especially as a rookie who's never been somewhere, to know I had top notch guys working on my cars. It was kind of up to me to do my part for them."  

Elliott plans to move forward by simply enjoying the moment.

"I don't know what tomorrow brings. I have no idea what the future has in store for myself, or our team or whatever," Elliott said. "The biggest thing is to try to make the most of what's going on right now and let it kind of figure itself out.

"The best thing I can do is focus on what's going on at the racetrack and make sure your mind's there 100 percent each weekend. We'd like to win some more races and we still have one more week to try to get another one before this season's over. We're looking forward to Homestead first and foremost and we'll worry about next season when it rolls around."

- KYS Inside Groove -