Thursday night was a case of déjà vu all over again for four-time NASCAR champion and current FOX analyst Jeff Gordon, who watched as Chase Elliott drove the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to a victory in the first Can-Am Duel 150.
“Here is what is interesting. My very first Cup win was in a Duel,” said Gordon. “Chase’s first NASCAR Cup win – in a Duel. I hope that is going to lead to Daytona 500 wins, Brickyard 400 wins and championships soon.”
Gordon definitely liked what he saw with Elliott, who last year took over the iconic No. 24 from Gordon and has now won the Daytona 500 pole two years in a row.
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“The pole was exciting, but seeing what he did in the Duel last night, that was incredible,” Gordon said of Elliott. “I think when you talk to Chase I think that there has been a little bit of hesitancy and doubt of what he is doing on a restrictor plate track. He gained a lot of knowledge and experience last year and now it is paying off.”
Gordon said Elliott’s racing IQ is exceptionally high, not surprising given that Elliott has been around racing literally all his life with father Bill Elliott.
“He (Elliott) is a quick study. We have seen him do this in other races,” said Gordon. “He learns very, very fast. What he did last night was one of the most impressive things I have seen him do yet.
“To see him be able to go from last year and unsure of what he was capable of doing on a restrictor plate track, to taking control of that race last night. Making some bold moves.”