PENSACOLA, Fla. – Fresh off becoming the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series, 17-year-old Chase Elliott has filed an entry to the most prestigious asphalt short track race in the country, the 46th Annual Snowball Derby.
While Elliott may have introduced himself on a national stage with his thrilling victory in the Sept. 1 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, fans around Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway, the home of the Snowball Derby, are well aware of Elliott’s record-setting skill.
Elliott won the 2011 Snowball Derby at Five Flags at 16 years and six days old, a record that still stands as the youngest-ever Snowball winner. He won the Allen Turner Snowflake 100, a Snowball Derby lead-in event, in 2010 and 2012 and has several Buddy’s Home Furnishings Blizzard Series victories to his credit at Five Flags.
Now, come Dec. 8 and armed with a NASCAR record on his resume, Elliott will be back at Five Flags looking to make even more history with a second Snowball Derby victory.
“Ever since I started racing late models, I dreamed about winning the Snowball Derby,” said Elliott. “It takes a team effort and a lot of preparation and that all starts at the shop. When you win the Derby it’s an awesome feeling. It’s hard to put it into words.
“Winning the Snowball Derby meant so much, I never took my pit wrist band off. It eventually fell off.”
Since winning the 2011 Snowball Derby, Elliott went on to victories in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the ARCA Racing Series and now the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. All of those high-profile victories are meaningful for Elliott, but when he straps into his No. 9 late model at Five Flags on Snowball Derby week, his eyes will be focused out the windshield instead of the rear-view mirror.
“2011 was a great win for us, but you have to put it behind you,” added Elliott. “A whole year of racing has happened since then and teams change and it’s a new year and new race. You try to put your best effort on so we try to put that past behind us.”
In addition to his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series efforts in 2013, Elliott has been focusing on getting as much seat time as he can in various forms of motorsports. This season alone, Elliott has wins in the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Racing Series and has even won on dirt in a Crate Late Model.
“I think any time you can go race and run something different then it only helps you,” said Elliott. “You don’t want to get stuck running just one thing and pick up bad habits that might be a bad trait in a different type of car. I think that understand each car, understanding what type of setup package they need can only help.”
Elliott will be gunning for his second win in the Snowball Derby, a feat that no Georgia driver has been able to do. Before Elliott will strap into his Super Late Model on Sunday, Dec. 8, he will look to capture his third win in the Saturday night Pro Late Model tune-up, the Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100. Elliott and Augie Grill are the only two drivers to win it twice.
Elliott will look to become the first driver to win a third Snowflake 100 on December 7.
“I am excited about both races down there,” said Elliott. “Our Pro Late Model program is good and our Super Late Model needed some improvement, but we are working in that direction. We had a great time there last year in the Snowflake and if we can be as good as we were in 2012 then we’ll be ok.”