While fans of Chase Elliott are stunned to see their favorite driver miss nearly six weeks due to injury, they are mostly unhappy with him for putting his season in jeopardy, according to an unofficial survey of his fans this week by the athlete.
Elliott, who broke his left leg in a snowboarding accident on March 3, has received a large majority of support in the the athleteto survey. More than three-quarters of those we identified as Elliott fans said they weren’t bothered by his decision to hit the slopes the day before he was supposed to be on the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (78 percent). Just over 15 percent said they disagree with his choice, while the rest are undecided.
When asked about Elliott’s extracurricular racing—he’s driven dirt cars, late models, SRXs, and rally cars out of his NASCAR commitments in recent years—the fan support was louder. More than 93 percent said they supported his decision to race in other series (arguably more dangerous than figure skating).
“Do you know how many people save hiking in the mountains around Phoenix each year? I guarantee we’ll see bikers on social media at the top of Camelback Mountain this week,” Elliott fan Amy Scott wrote. “The premise that they need to live in a silly bubble. I support Chase and any other driver who chooses to pursue other interests in their spare time.”
Many cited Elliott’s lifelong snow sports experience as another factor. The Elliott family has always had a second home in Colorado and even lived there as their primary residence for some time. Elliott’s snowboarding experience was also highlighted by A.J Video on the Hendrick Motorsports YouTube channel in 2017.
“He’s been snowboarding since he was a kid, so he knew better than most the hazards when snowboarding,” fan Matt Bradley wrote. “Not only that, but it’s hard to make a judgment because we still don’t know what happened to cause it.”
Elliott chased after 6 weeks with a broken leg
A quick word on how we fan-picked this poll: Using social media, we’ve tried to limit the poll to those who are rooting for Elliott as their primary driver. Of the 75 participants, 59 said Elliott was their top choice. We then used the results from just these 59 participants.
But while most are united in their support for Elliott, his fans were more divided about what to do in his absence.
Just over half of fans (52 percent) said they would simply keep cheering for the No. 9 car until Elliott returned. That means rooting for Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry, who will replace Elliott on the oval, and sports car racer Jordan Taylor, who will drive for Elliott at the Circuit of the Americas track later this month.
The other half of the respondents were more divided. Roughly a quarter said they would pick a driver other than the one in ninth place, while smaller percentages said they would pick all Hendrick drivers, second or third favorite drivers, all Chevrolet drivers or simply not cheer anyone up.
“I will gladly support Hendrick’s teammates during his absence,” fan Nick Fish wrote. “William Byron wishing him well (after the Vegas win) was a very nice gesture and made it a lot easier to cheer for Hendrick Motorsports when the Chase is away.”
Some good news for NASCAR: Although one of the choices in our poll was “I will never watch NASCAR,” none of the Elliott fans made that choice. However, many admitted that their passion for NASCAR could take a hit in the coming weeks.
A fan named Carrie B wrote: “Honestly, I feel less, less interested in racing without Chase. I still plan on watching. I like many different drivers – but not as much as Chase.”
Carrie named Ryan Blaney as one of her choices, which was fitting since Blaney was the only driver with double-digit votes. Others who received multiple selections included Kyle Bush, Bubba Wallace, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, and Corey LaJoie (although each of them was mentioned by fewer than five people).
“I hope Corey LaJoie gets a chance at the (#9) seat,” fan Suzanne Davis wrote.
As for the impact on Elliott’s season, his fans seemed unconcerned. Nearly 95 percent said they believed Elliott would still make the playoffs (although he would have to win a race to do so) and nearly 90 percent felt he would be able to compete in a second NASCAR Cup Series championship despite not having a match comma. points this fall.
“Not sure if Chase will make the playoffs,” wrote one fan named Abby. “But if he does, he will have as good a chance of winning the championship as anyone else.
NASCAR Driver Classes, Beyond Las Vegas: Who’s No. 1 and What Happens to Elliott’s Chase?
(Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images)