HARRISBURG, N.C. — Any doubt that Chase Elliott was a chip off the old block was erased years ago when as a teenager he won countless asphalt late model races.
But as the second-generation stock car racer quickly climbs the NASCAR ladder, he continues to turn heads. The son of 1988 NASCAR Cup champion Bill Elliott earned his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory April 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in only his sixth starts.
Elliott has earned praise and congratulations from some of the best drivers in the business.
“Those guys just taking a couple seconds to shake my hand along the way, that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced,” the 18-year-old Georgia native said. “That was just really, really cool to have those guys, their support, and it was fun being able to race with those guys. It was a great night for us.”
Elliott said despite his father’s success, the two haven’t compared their experiences.
“We haven’t really talked much about it,” Elliott said. “I think it’s one of those things where you kind of have to experience it on your own. I don’t think that’s one of those things that he can really tell you. I think he’ll tell you the same thing; he’s always kind of given me space to figure things out on my own, and any information he gives me, it’s just kind of there for reference. It’s not ever forced upon. I think that’s one of those things he kind of lets me figure out as we go.”
This week Elliott gets his first taste of the legendary Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where he has never been on the track.
“It’ll be completely new. I can’t tell you the last time I was even at that track,” he said. “That’s kind of a recurring trend for me this year going to some of these racetracks I’ve never been to before and haven’t been to in a long time even to watch. Darlington is going to be one of those, and hopefully we can, like I said, try to get an idea what we’ll need to have a good race car on Friday night in practice on Thursday and make the most of the weekend.”
After winning at Texas, Elliott had to do something on Monday morning that his competitors did not. He had to go to school.
“As far as me going back to school, it was a typical Monday morning,” he explained. “Nobody likes Mondays, whether you’re in school or having to go to work. It was cool to be able to come home and to have had a good weekend. I had some good friends that keep up with what I do on the weekends, and cool to come back and see those guys. But as far as the school side goes, just a typical Monday morning.”