Chase Elliott

9

Racing career

Early career and short track racing


Chase's K&N Pro Series East car at Rockingham in 2012

At the age of 13, Elliott was featured alongside thirteen other athletes, including future world number one golfer Jordan Spieth and future NBA 2nd overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as potential stars in the July 13, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated.[2] Elliott raced in 40 races in various series in 2010, winning twelve events over the course of the year and finishing in the top ten 38 times.[3] It was the third season of his racing career, and he won the Blizzard Series, Miller Lite and Gulf Coast championship en route to being named the Georgia Asphalt Pro Late Model Series Rookie of the Year.[3] He ended the season by winning the Winchester 400.[3] Sports Illustrated named Elliott as the high school player of the week in April 2011.[3] During the year, he competed in the Champion Racing Association, winning the series' National Super Late Model championship.[4] Later that year, just after his sixteenth birthday, he won the Snowball Derby and became the race's youngest winner.[5] He beat the second place driver, DJ Vanderley, by a record 0.229 seconds.[6] In 2012, he won the Alan Turner Snowflake 100, prelude to the Snowball Derby, for the second time in three years.[7]


In November 2013, Elliott won the All American 400, becoming the first driver to win all four of the country's largest short-track races: the All American 400, the Snowball Derby, the World Crown 300 and the Winchester 400.[8] In December, it appeared as though Elliott had become the first driver to sweep the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 in the same weekend. Upon post-race inspection, however, a piece of tungsten was found in Elliott's car, which was prohibited by the Derby rulebook. Elliott was accordingly disqualified and the victory awarded to Erik Jones.[9] Elliott won the Snowball Derby in 2015 after initial winner Christopher Bell was disqualified.[10]


Stock car touring series

Elliott signed a three-year driver development contract with Hendrick Motorsports in February 2011.[3][11] He competed in the K&N Pro Series East in 2011 with number 9, finishing 9th in season points.[4] Elliott returned to the K&N Pro Series East in 2012,[4] winning his first career race in the series at Iowa Speedway in May.[12] He finished fourth in series points.


In 2011 and 2012, Elliott competed in three K&N Pro Series West races (once in 2011, twice in 2012), all at Phoenix International Raceway. In his lone 2011 event, he finished third, and in the 2012 races, he finished 17th (due to a crash) and fourth.[13]



Elliott's 2013 ARCA car at Road America

Elliott competed in six ARCA Racing Series races in 2012 and five races in 2013 with number 9, in order to gain experience at larger circuits. ARCA allows 17-year old drivers to race at Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway, two circuits where NASCAR has a minimum age of 18; the minimum age for ovals longer than 2,000 meters, or 1.25 miles, is 18 years of age; shorter tracks and road courses have a minimum age of 16.[14] On June 8, 2013, Elliott became the youngest winner in ARCA superspeedway history following his Pocono victory.[15]


NASCAR national series

Truck Series

In January 2013, it was announced that Elliott would compete in nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events for Hendrick Motorsports during the 2013 racing season, using trucks prepared by Turner Scott Motorsports.[14]


In qualifying for the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliott won his first career NASCAR pole position with a lap speed of 125.183 mph (201.463 km/h), and became the youngest pole-sitter in Truck Series history.[16]


Elliott would win his first race in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in the first road course truck race outside the US; he was at the time the youngest winner in Truck Series history, at the age of 17 years, 9 months, and 4 days.[17][N 1] The win was however controversial as Elliott made contact with leader Ty Dillon in the last corner. Dillon hit the tire barrier while Elliott went into the grass though recovered enough to be able to coast to the finish line ahead of Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Chad Hackenbracht.[19]


Dillon afterwards stated that the next time they raced each other "he won't finish the race";[19] later Elliott stated he had attempted to apologize to Dillon but without any response.[20] The following week at Iowa Speedway, Elliott cut down a tire early in the race and crashed without involvement from Dillon.[21]


In October 2016, Elliott entered the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 at Martinsville Speedway, his first truck race since 2013, driving the No. 71 for Contreras Motorsports, leasing owners points and the truck chassis from JR Motorsports, where he led the most laps with 109 and finished 2nd.[22]


Elliott joined GMS Racing's No. 23 entry for two races (Atlanta and Martinsville) in 2017, and he won at Martinsville. Three years later, he returned to the series and team in the No. 24; the effort was spawned from Kevin Harvick offering a bounty to full-time Cup drivers able to beat Kyle Busch.[23] The attempt was initially scheduled for the Atlanta race before being moved to Charlotte in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the schedule. Elliott ultimately won the race ahead of Busch to claim the bounty; tensions had been high between the two following an incident earlier in the season.


In 2021, Elliott once again raced in the truck series racing for GMS Racing at Texas Motor Speedway.


Xfinity Series


Elliott racing his Nationwide car at Road America in 2014

In January 2014, it was announced that Elliott would be competing full-time in the Nationwide Series in 2014, driving the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, with sponsorship from NAPA Auto Parts.[24] On April 4, 2014, Elliott won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, holding Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch off after taking the lead with 16 laps to go.[25] On April 11, 2014, Elliott won the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway by passing Elliott Sadler on the last lap after restarting sixth with two laps to go.[26] Elliott won the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway after holding off Trevor Bayne.[27] At Phoenix, Elliott clinched the Nationwide Series championship with a 53-point lead over teammate Regan Smith, becoming the first rookie and youngest driver to win a NASCAR national series title.[28] Later in the year, he was named the Nationwide Series' Most Popular Driver.[29]


In 2015, Elliott received his first DNF in his career after being involved in the second big one at Daytona, finishing 28th. On September 11, Elliott won his first race of the season at Richmond, snapping his 36-race winless streak. He battled with Chris Buescher for the championship, but was unable to catch up and finished 2nd in points.


Following Elliott's move up to the Cup Series in 2016, he continued driving for JR Motorsports part-time in the Xfinity Series. In 2016, he drove the No. 88 car in 5 races, including the season-opening PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona, which he won. He also drove the No. 5 car in Texas.


In 2018, he began the season driving the No. 88 car at Daytona, which teammate Tyler Reddick won in a photo finish with teammate Elliott Sadler. Following Spencer Gallagher's suspension from NASCAR, it was announced that Elliott would pilot the No. 23 car for GMS Racing in select events, including the races at Charlotte, Pocono, Chicagoland, Daytona, and Bristol.[30]


In 2021 Chase would sub out for Michael Annett at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


Cup Series

On January 29, 2015, Hendrick Motorsports announced Elliott would make his Sprint Cup Series debut in 2015, driving the No. 25 with Kenny Francis as crew chief. He was scheduled to race in five races at Martinsville, Richmond, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Darlington. The team also announced that he would take over Jeff Gordon's No. 24 starting in 2016.[29]


Elliott's Cup debut in the STP 500 was threatened by potential rain; due to a lack of owner's points and race attempts, had qualifying been rained out, he would have failed to qualify. Elliott eventually recorded a lap speed of 96.919 mph (155.976 km/h), qualifying 27th.[31] During the race, contact with Brett Moffitt on lap 75 forced his car to drop debris onto the track and damage to hang from its rear, while his power steering was damaged. Dropping to 37th, Elliott entered the garage, and returned to the race on lap 144, 69 laps behind the leader and in last. Elliott would ultimately finish 38th, 73 laps down.[32] On May 5, 2015, it was announced that Elliott would be entering the Sprint All-Star Race's Sprint Showdown.[33] He finished 8th and 5th in the event's two segments.[34]


2016


Elliott's No. 24 before the 2016 Daytona 500

Elliott joined the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2016, driving the No. 24 with Alan Gustafson as crew chief.[29] Elliott carried primary sponsorship from NAPA Auto Parts (twenty-four races),[35] 3M (five races),[36] SunEnergy1 (four races),[37] Kelley Blue Book (two races),[38] and Mountain Dew (two races).[39] He won the 2016 Rookie of the Year over Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Brian Scott.[40]


In his Daytona 500 debut, Elliott won the pole with a speed of 196.314 miles per hour (315.937 km/h). At the age of 20, he became the youngest pole-sitter in 500 history.[41] Elliott led three laps in the race, but on lap 18, spun exiting turn four and slid into the grass, damaging the front of the car. Elliott returned to the race on lap 59, 40 laps down, and finished 37th.[42] The next week he finished 8th at Atlanta for his first Sprint Cup top-ten finish. The following week, in Las Vegas, Elliott showed a strong car all day and even had his car inside the top-five with 40 laps to go, but crashed and finished 38th. Elliott picked up more top tens during the spring, finishing 5th at Texas for his first career Top-5, 4th at Bristol, 5th at Talladega, 9th at Kansas, 3rd at Dover, 8th in the Coca-Cola 600, and a career best 2nd at Michigan.[43] At Pocono for the running of the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400, Elliott would have his breakout race of his Sprint Cup career, Elliott would start 13th and later get the lead in the race and he would lead a race high of 51 laps, leading the most laps in a Sprint Cup race for the first time in his career. On a restart, Elliott would lose the lead and the race came down to fuel mileage but the fuel would hold and he would finish 4th. At Michigan in June, Elliott finished second after he missed a shift in the lead. He won the fan vote to advance into the All-Star Race along with Danica Patrick where he finished a respectable 7th after nearly winning the final segment of the Sprint Showdown, losing to Kyle Larson in a photo finish. Fifteen races into his rookie season, he sat 6th in the standings, the highest without a victory, with two poles for the Daytona 500 and at Talladega, six Top-5s and eleven Top-10s. Two weeks later at Sonoma, Elliott started 16th, but would ultimately finish 21st.


He was one of the first rookies to qualify for the Chase along with Chris Buescher since Denny Hamlin in 2006. On September 18, at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400, he had a chance at his first win, but a late caution wiped out his 3-second lead over Martin Truex Jr., who would go on to win the race while Elliott would finish in 3rd. He was eliminated after the Round of 12 but managed to finish 10th in the final standings.


2017


Elliott battling Kyle Larson (No. 42) for the lead at Michigan

Elliott started the 2017 season by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row.[44] He followed it up with a win in the first Can-Am Duel race, becoming the first driver since Dale Earnhardt in 1996 to win both the Daytona 500 pole and a qualifying race and the third in NASCAR history (Davey Allison is the first after doing so in 1990). At Martinsville a little later in the year, he sneaked past Kyle Busch after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bumped the No. 18 out of the way, allowing Elliott to steal the stage 2 victory. At Talladega on May 7, he was involved in a 16 car pileup that nearly saw him flip over, as his car got airborne. At Michigan in June, Elliott got his 3rd second-place finish in a row at the track.


On October 1, Elliott had another chance at his first career win leading his first 138 laps at Dover and having a 4-second lead over Kyle Busch with 50 laps to go, but caught lap traffic and was stuck behind Ryan Newman, who has long held the reputation as one of the hardest guys to pass, allowing Busch to pass Elliott with two laps to go for the win while Elliott finished second. Jeff Gordon, the previous driver of the No. 24 car and a mentor to Elliott, confronted Newman after the race because he cost Elliott his first career win. At the fall race at Martinsville, Elliott was able to take the lead from Brad Keselowski with four to go, but his winning chances were ruined after being hit by Denny Hamlin from behind and spun out with three to go. Unhappy with Hamlin, he drove him to the outside wall after the race ended on the cooling lap. "My mom always said if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all," Elliott told NBCSN. "He's not even worth my time. … We had a good opportunity. I can’t control his decisions and whatever the hell that was. On to Texas." He later got an apology from Hamlin after the race via Twitter.[45]


At Phoenix, Elliott was in a must-win situation to advance to Miami. He did lead 34 laps of the race but once again, he had to settle for second as Matt Kenseth passed him with 10 laps to go, ending his championship hopes.[46] However, he wound up finishing 5th in the final standings.[47]


2018


Elliott celebrating after winning the 2018 Go Bowling at The Glen

In 2018, Hendrick Motorsports switched Elliott's car number from the No. 24 to the No. 9, the number that his father drove during most of his racing career, and also Chase's number in NASCAR's lower series. Elliott retained his crew, including crew chief Alan Gustafson.[48][49] In qualifying for the Daytona 500, Elliott posted the 9th fastest time, ending his streak of consecutive Daytona 500 poles at two. Only a few hours later in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, he would be upfront for most of the race, leading 17 out of the 75 laps but dropped back after an incident in the backstretch and was later caught up in a wreck on the final lap. Elliott won the second Can-Am Duel to earn a spot in the second row for the Daytona 500. Elliott ran towards the front during the first half of the Daytona 500, even leading four laps, before getting caught up in an accident on lap 102 and finishing 33rd.[50]


At Richmond in April, Elliott finished second in the Toyota Owners 400. This was his best finish of the season to date and the eighth second-place finish of his career, tying the number of second-place finishes his father had before his first win. The following week at Talladega, he finished third in the GEICO 500 after starting the race at the rear of the field due to an unapproved tire change.[51] Elliott had a strong race at Dover, starting 6th, finishing in the top 10 in both stages before slipping to 12th at the end. He scored another twelfth-place finish at Kansas, and rallied from a disappointing 22nd qualification to finish 11th at the Coca-Cola 600. Elliott had what he called his team's "best race of the year"[52] to date in the Pocono 400 where he finished tenth and earned additional points with top tens in both stages.[53] He scored a race-high 49 points with two top five stage finishes and a fourth-place overall finish in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma,[54] which he considers "one of [his] worst" tracks.[55]


He scored his first pole of the 2018 season at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, with a lap that was 0.240 seconds faster than anyone else in qualifying. The following day, his race ended early when he was collected in the “big one” on lap 54 along with 25 other drivers after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. turned Brad Keselowski near the front of the field, resulting in a 34th-place finish for Elliott.[56] At Watkins Glen, Elliott started third, won Stage 2 for the third week in a row (Loudon, Pocono, Watkins Glen), and led the final 33 laps to finally capture his first career Monster Cup Series Series victory. Chase's win emulated his father, Bill, by finishing second eight times before winning, winning his first race on a road course, getting Hendrick Motorsports their 250th win, and becoming the youngest driver to win on a road course. (Bill won his first career race at the now-defunct Riverside International Raceway).[57] Bill was also a spotter of Chase's for the race.[58] He was notably given a push to the front stretch by teammate Jimmie Johnson when his car ran out of fuel when being congratulated by the rest of the drivers.[59][60]


Elliott qualified for the 2018 playoffs. Elliott secured his second career victory on October 7, holding off Denny Hamlin in overtime at Dover. With the win, Elliott secured a spot in the third round. After a final lap melee at Talladega, he scored another win at Kansas later that month, holding off a hard-charging Kyle Busch late in the going. He made it through the Round of 8 until he was eliminated by a late crash with Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch at Phoenix. Elliott finished the season sixth in the points standings.[citation needed]


2019


Elliott's No. 9 at Daytona International Speedway in 2019

Elliott started the 2019 season qualifying 18th for the 2019 Daytona 500. He spent majority of the race mid-pack before getting caught in a wreck on lap 200, finishing 17th. The following week at Atlanta, Elliott finished outside of the top 10 for the second race in a row after qualifying 22nd and finished in 19th. However, at Las Vegas, Elliott got his first top 10 of the season after he finished ninth. At Martinsville, Elliott finished second after getting passed for the lead with 126 laps to go. He got his first win of the season at Talladega after a crash under the white flag caused the race to end under yellow. Elliott also defeated Martin Truex Jr. at Watkins Glen for the second year in a row.[61] Elliott breezed past the first round of the playoffs with a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas and 13th at Richmond. At the Charlotte Roval, he was leading the field on lap 65 when he locked his brakes and collided with the turn 1 tire barrier. Despite the minimal damage on his front end, Elliott took advantage of several cautions to retake the lead on lap 104 before scoring his third win of the season and his sixth career victory.[62] However, he finished 38th at Dover when he experienced an engine failure on the seventh lap.[63] Elliott advanced to the Round of 8 after finishing second at Kansas,[64] but once again failed to make the Championship 4 after crashing and finishing 39th at Phoenix.[65]


2020: Cup Series Champion


Elliott after winning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship

The 2020 season began with a stage win and another 17th-place finish in the Daytona 500.[66] The following week at Las Vegas saw him win the first two stages, but a flat tire on lap 220 caused him to spin into the turn one wall and finish 26th.[67] He recorded top tens in the next three races,[68] including winning the pole and leading a race-high 93 laps at Phoenix before brushing the wall late in the event to finish seventh.[69]


Elliott would be plagued by late misfortunes during the ensuing races. With 28 laps left in the Toyota 500 at Darlington, Elliott was turned by Kyle Busch while running in second, leading to him giving the finger to Busch as he drove by.[70] He would soon after beat Busch and receive a bounty from Kevin Harvick in a Truck race while tensions between the two were still high. In the next Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600 (the only Crown Jewel his father Bill had never won), Elliott was leading when Hendrick teammate William Byron's flat tire resulted in a caution and overtime. Elliott's team elected to pit before the restart, dropping him out of the lead; he eventually finished third before being promoted to second after fellow Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson was disqualified.[71] Elliott would rebound by winning the Alsco Uniforms 500 after passing Kevin Harvick for the lead with 27 laps to go.[72] He was on the verge of a second consecutive race win at Bristol until he made contact with Joey Logano with three laps remaining, relegating him to 22nd and sparking a post-race discussion between the two.[73]


In July, Elliott won the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol after winning two of the first three stages and dominating the final segment. The victory made the Elliotts the second father-son duo to win the All-Star Race, joining Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.; like Chase, Bill Elliott's 1986 race win came at a track beside the traditional host site Charlotte, doing so at Atlanta.[74] A month later, during the inaugural Go Bowling 235 on the Daytona road course, Elliott led a race-high 34 laps en route to his second points-paying victory of the 2020 season and his third consecutive road course victory.[75] The win put him in the lead for all-time winning percentage on road courses, with 36.36%.[76]


In the first race of the playoffs, the Cook Out Southern 500, Elliott's car featured a throwback paint scheme honoring his teammate, mentor, and friend Jimmie Johnson.[77] He was running up front for much of the race, and he was leading with less than 20 laps to go before Martin Truex Jr. attempted to pass him off of a run; the two made contact and both cars went into the wall, causing damage that set them back in speed and track position. Elliott decided not to pit but fell to 20th.[78]


In the Bank of America Roval 400, Elliott had arguably the best car in the entire race as he started second, tied with teammate William Byron for most laps led, and won for his fourth straight road course victory. Winning this race made Elliott the youngest and oldest driver to win the Roval.[79][80] Entering Martinsville's Xfinity 500, Elliott needed a win to advance to the final round; he worked his way to finish 4th in Stage 1, dominated to win Stage 2, and passed Martin Truex Jr. with 43 laps to go to win, which locked himself into the Championship Round at Phoenix.[81]


Elliott started last in the Season Finale 500 after failing pre-race inspection twice, but ultimately led a race-high 153 laps to win the race and the championship. At the age of 24, he became the third-youngest driver to win a Cup championship.[82] Along with his father, the Elliotts became third father-son duo to win titles following the Pettys (Lee and Richard) and the Jarretts (Ned and Dale).[83]


2021: Defending the title


Elliott's No. 9 at Sonoma Raceway in 2021

The early 2021 season was filled with highs and lows. Chase would finish 2nd in the Daytona 500. Chase finally won his first race of the season in a rain delay at the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas. Elliott's victory achieved two milestones: the 268th Cup victory for Hendrick Motorsports, tying Petty Enterprises for the most Cup victories by a race team in NASCAR history, and Chevrolet's 800th Cup victory as a manufacturer. He finished 13th at the inaugural 2021 Ally 400 at Nashville, but was disqualified when his car had five loose lug nuts during post-race inspection. A few weeks later at Road America, Elliott would win again beating, Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch.


Elliott raced in the Superstar Racing Experience finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, winning over Tony Stewart.


At the Xfinity 500 Elliott swept both stages, securing enough points to clinch a spot in the Season Finale 500. During the race for the title in a battle against teammate Kyle Larson, and JGR drivers Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr, Elliott finished 5th (lowest of all championship 4 contenders) and failed to repeat as a champion. Larson ended up winning the race and the title.


On Friday December 3rd it was announced Elliott won Most Popular Driver for the 4th year in a row


In popular culture

Television and film appearances

Elliott has made appearances on television, including CMT's The Dude Perfect Show.[84] He voices the character Mark Set-Go on Nickelodeon's Blaze and the Monster Machines[85] and Chase Racelott in the 2017 Pixar film Cars 3.[86]


In 2017, Elliott served as a Fox NASCAR analyst for the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta.


In 2021, Elliott was the subject of a documentary with Dale Earnhardt Jr called ‘Chase’ which talks about the story of his racing career.


Magazines

Elliott has appeared on the cover of magazines, including NASCAR Illustrated;[87] NASCAR Pole Position;[88][89] and Georgia Magazine.[90]


Video games

Elliott is featured as a playable driver in Forza Motorsport 6, via the NASCAR expansion pack.[91] The expansion features twenty-four paint schemes from the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, including Elliott's No. 24 NAPA SS.[91] Elliott, along with Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, provide commentary in the expansion as the "voices of motorsport."[91] Elliott and Johnson also had roles in developing the expansion.[92]


Elliott has been a driver in all of the NASCAR Heat series of games by 704Games. All four 2018 HMS drivers, including Elliott, were on the cover of NASCAR Heat 3, which was released September 7, 2018.[93] Elliott also appeared by himself on the cover for NASCAR Heat 5, which was released on July 10, 2020.[94]


Appearing on the cover of a NASCAR game has led to what is called the “Cover Curse” leading to the driver having a wreck-filled terrible season, with bad luck and misfortune. Elliott is one of the few drivers to not have this happen to him. Appearing on the 2018 NASCAR Heat 3 cover, Elliott scored his first win in the Cup that year at Watkins Glen. In 2020 Elliott appeared on the cover of the standard edition of NASCAR Heat 5 and would go on to win the championship that season, Chase Elliott is also 1 of 3 drivers on the cover of NASCAR 21: Ignition.[95]


Elliott is also featured on the cover of Nascar Heat Ultimate a Nintendo Switch title using NASCAR Heat 5 as the base, while adding the 2021 drivers and schemes


(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Chase Elliott

2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion

Sponsor:

NAPA

Team:

Hendrick Motorsports

Manufacturer:

Chevrolet

Website:

Twitter: