- Did you mean:
Chase Elliott takes a hit at Bristol
Watch as playoff contender Chase Elliott wrecks in the Bristol night race.
Chase Elliott's shoes honor Bill Elliott's qualifying mark
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Chase Elliott wasn't even a glimmer in father and Hall of Famer Bill Elliott ’s eye when the elder Elliott drove the No. 9 Ford at 212.809 mph during qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 1987. That blistering-fast speed -- run before restrictor plates were implemented at superspeedways -- remains the track record today. And 30 years later, the younger Elliott is honoring his father's accomplishment by wearing a special pair of Alpine Stars racing shoes for this weekend's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega. "The shoes, I'm pretty excited about them," Elliott said Friday at Talladega. "Thirty years ago this weekend, Dad ran 212 here, which I think is really, really cool." Like his father's original racing shoes, Elliott's new kicks are red, white and gold. On one side, the shoes read "World's Fastest Race Car" along with Bill Elliott ’s name. On the other, the 212.809 mph speed and Elliott No. 9 car number are written. But while Elliott's shoes resemble his famous father's from the iconic 212 mph lap around 'Dega, his No. 24 Chevrolet isn't quite the same. "I don't know that I could handle it, but I would definitely try for sure,” Elliott said lightheartedly when asked if he'd run his father’s 212 mph car wide-open. "I'd love to give it a shot. But I don't know that I would have what it takes to hold it wide-open. "I mean, that's not easy, back then. They laid the spoiler back; I remember dad telling me stories, they basically just kept leaning it back until they he just couldn't take it anymore. That was how they figured out when to stop. He just kept pushing limits until he couldn't drive it, which is pretty cool, really." </p>
Chase Elliott helping kids near his home track
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta " Get the 'Chase U' ticket package For Chase Elliott , a fondness for Atlanta Motor Speedway is only natural. The track sits roughly 90 miles south of his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia, and his famous father, Bill , enjoyed success as a five-time winner on the Atlanta high banks. Plans are already in place to make this week a busier, more heartfelt homecoming than normal. It involves giving back, both to the area and to the venue that's been so intertwined with his family's racing history. Thursday, the 21-year-old driver plans a visit to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to visit with young patients and announce the launch of the Chase Elliott Foundation, which will present its first donation to the pediatric hospital. The charitable organization will also reveal the details of a special program that will have Elliott and his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates -- Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne -- sporting some snazzy footwear this weekend for a special cause. "Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, they've always been so kind to us," Elliott said. "Obviously they're very well known for the job they do for kids and treating different sicknesses. Doing a great job with that is the most important thing. Anything we can do to try to grow that awareness and help them out, we're definitely all-in for it. Their entire staff has always been very gracious and easy to work with in our hometown." To help amplify the debut initiative for Elliott's foundation, all four Hendrick drivers helped to judge a drawing contest by young patients at the hospital. After handpicking their favorite designs, the next step was to enlist Alpinestars, an Italian maker of performance gear, to bring the colorful shoes to life. The designs will be revealed Thursday, and the foundation plans to auction off all four pairs after Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . "I'm really excited about that, and I really appreciate all three guys giving up whatever shoe they (regularly) wear to do that this weekend," Elliott says. "It's really nice of them and I appreciate that." Home track memories Elliott will be making only his second Atlanta start in the Monster Energy Cup Series this weekend, putting him just 60 starts shy of the career mark established by his father from 1976-2010. Still, his connection to the 1.54-mile track runs deep with a wealth of memories growing up. Elliott's most prominent childhood remembrance of the home-state speedway involves simply being a kid -- one who probably skirted the rules by shimmying to the top of a tubular jungle-gym that used to be in the infield. "I reference playgrounds a lot because I was always playing on them when I was little," Elliott says. "Atlanta had a cool playground because you could actually climb up the outside of it and get on top and it was a great place to watch the race. I remember always climbing on top of this thing -- I don't think you were supposed to do that -- and watching the races. That's my Atlanta memory when I was little." The race track is now Elliott's playground, one that will get some extra use this weekend. Elliott also plans to participate in Saturday's Camping World Truck Series event as part of a four-team effort from GMS Racing, which celebrated a championship with Johnny Sauter last year and a Daytona victory with rookie Kaz Grala last weekend. With on-track double duty and his foundation's activation already on his loaded plate, Elliott's also making an effort to help attract younger fans to the historic venue. He has lent his name to a ticket combo called Chase U that's designed to give college students the works -- parking, food and drinks, live music and a grandstand seat for $24, a figure that not coincidentally matches Elliott's car number. "It's basically just a cost-effective ticket package for students to come, have a place to hang out and party and tailgate before a race and enjoy the race," Elliott said. "I just thought it'd be cool to kind of incorporate something along those lines to a race weekend, and Atlanta's been doing a really good job about getting the word out with that and trying to get some exposure with it." For all generations of fans, there will be plenty to see. The race will mark the 2,500th event for NASCAR's top division and will be the final race on the 20-year-old asphalt before a repaving project begins this spring. The last time the track had fresh pavement applied was part of a major reconfiguration project, when Atlanta flipped the frontstretch and backstretch and added the dogleg to the true-oval layout that was home to so many Bill Elliott successes. Chase Elliott was just shy of his second birthday when that configuration debuted in 1997. The impending move to new pavement will likely bring challenges during its breaking-in period, but Elliott plans a fond farewell to the aging surface -- the second-oldest on the circuit -- which is expected to produce multi-groove racing with plenty of slipping and sliding through the field. "I think we all have mixed opinions on the repave, but I'm sure there are some similarities from the old layout to what it is now," Elliott said. "We haven't really talked about that a ton, but I'm curious to see this last race and I'm going to enjoy this last race on the old surface." </p>
Despite falling short, Elliott runs masterful race
RELATED: Race results " Elliott joins elite list with back-to-back poles MORE: Elliott through the years DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott led the Daytona 500 field to the green flag Sunday, a repeat pole-starter in NASCAR's crown-jewel race. Similarly to last year, the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year victor was unable to lead the field to the checkered flag. This time, however, an empty fuel cell was the culprit. Elliott led five times for 39 laps, a total second only to early leader Kevin Harvick . But his powerful Speedweeks -- with a Coors Light Pole Award, a Can-Am Duel victory and tons of momentum -- fizzled when he sputtered off the pace just two and half laps from the finish. "Out of gas," Elliott signaled over the radio as his blue-and-yellow Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet slowed toward the inside lane on the backstretch. Elliott was able to salvage a lead-lap finish in 14th, but it was far from the ultimate prize -- a breakthrough Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory on the sport's grandest stage. Elliott emerged from his car and left the track quickly, hopping into a waiting vehicle with his father -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott -- driving. But he struck a regretful but pragmatic tone in a post-race tweet, saying, "Lessons learned the hard way today, let's get to Atlanta!" Before his fuel tank ran dry, Elliott had led 23 consecutive laps -- the longest sustained span up front of the entire race. But the race-long dicing had given way to a settled, single-file pack with his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, concerned about his car's mileage. Leading the way and burning up precious fuel with zero aerodynamic tow wasn't helping. "We knew we were short, but what do you do?," Gustafson told NASCAR.com. "It's hard to say hey, let's give up the Daytona 500 or follow in third or fourth. The way the shuffle ended up, Kurt was probably in the best spot because he could save a little fuel, whereas us and the 78 ( Martin Truex Jr .) and the 42 ( Kyle Larson , also in the top five) were having to run wide-open. "I think we did all we could in the circumstances. We knew we were going to be really close, just ended up short." Also working against Elliott was the 47-lap green flag stretch -- the race's longest -- that preceded the dramatic end. "We were hoping for a few cautions and I think if we were in third or fourth, we could've saved it, but I wasn't about to give up the lead of the Daytona 500 and say 'hey, we've got to fall back and save gas,' " Gustafson said. "Little bit of wishful thinking and hoping the circumstances would play our way." Elliott otherwise ran a masterful race, exhibiting patience on a day when it was in short supply for several in the field. Elliott has taken defeat hard in the past, but Gustafson said he had no concerns about Sunday's defeat rattling his 21-year-old driver. "There's nothing he can do. I'd rather lose like that than I would be sitting in the garage or running 12th or 13th or 10 or lucking into a fifth, right? I don't think that's a bad thing. You go to the race track and you fight your guts out, and you win the pole, you win a Duel and lead the Daytona 500 with two laps to go. I don't know that you should be sad about that."
Elliott : I'd stay home if I didn't think I could win Daytona 500
RELATED: Full lineup for Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Even in winning his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, Thursday night's Can-Am Duel, Chase Elliott refused to consider himself the odds-on favorite for Sunday's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He does, however, like his chances. The 21-year old Elliott became the youngest winner in the Duels' great history with a 0.156-second win on the field. Three days ago, he won the Daytona 500 pole position for the second straight year. It's been a good week for the second-generation NASCAR star. "I definitely think we have a shot at it (winning Sunday). I mean, if I didn't feel that way, like I always say, I'd stay home," said Elliott , whose father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , won both the 1985 and 1987 Daytona 500 s from the pole position. "I feel like we have a shot on Sunday. I feel like we had a shot before we got down here. "Tonight's result hasn't changed my opinion on that. I'm looking forward to it, obviously. You love to get that qualifying spot on Sunday, but we really earned it tonight, to start on the front row, which is even better. "It was definitely a great way to start the season. As I said, I know it's just a Duel win. You obviously wish it was Sunday and counted towards the playoffs, but it still means a lot to me. Means a lot to our team. Happy to have NAPA colors on tonight. Had some big steam under the hood, which is a huge factor in keeping us out front. "So glad we were able to race and stay aggressive and battle those guys. Hopefully we can dial it in just a little better for Sunday, give it another shot."
Elliott joins elite list with back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! As he propelled his No. 24 Chevrolet to the top of the leaderboard for the 2017 Daytona 500 pole position, Chase Elliott was a part of history Sunday afternoon, once again. He rewrote record books last season with his Daytona 500 pole, becoming the youngest driver to lead "The Great American Race" to green at 20 years old. This year, he became only the fifth driver to win the Daytona 500 pole twice in a row in the race's 59 year history. The feat puts him in a rare club and one that his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , is a part of. "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" had a three-year run of Daytona 500 poles from 1985 to 1987. Talk about keeping it in the family. Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts kicked off a three-year run of Daytona 500 poles in 1961. Buddy Baker scored back-to-backs beginning in 1979, kicking off a three-win, seven-pole season for NASCAR's "Gentle Giant." Ken Schrader went with three-in-a-row starting in 1988 during his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports . All but Baker completed the three-peat for poles. Premonition for 2018? Only time will tell. But for now, tune into the 2017 running of the Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m., FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to see if Elliott can turn that P1 into a checkered flag. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hooters rewards fans when Chase Elliott scores a top 5
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega Hooters returns to NASCAR this week with Chase Elliott driving the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS May 7 at Talladega Superspeedway. To celebrate the event, Hooters invites fans to cheer Elliott and his No. 24 team to victory and register at Hooters24.com for chances to win when Elliott wins or places in the top 5 all season long. To receive exclusive "When Chase Wins, You Win" offers, join the Hooters No. 24 Crew at Hooters24.com . If Elliott wins a NASCAR Cup Series race during the remaining 2017 season, registered fans nationwide win a select Hooters appetizer of fried pickles, tater tots or cheese sticks with purchase. If Elliott places in the top five of a NASCAR Cup Series race this season, Hooters fans win a free Mountain Dew® with purchase. Members of the Hooters No. 24 Crew are also entered to win bonus prizes. One lucky winner snags a grand prize trip for two to Las Vegas, including a stay at Hooters Casino and a meet-and-greet with Elliott . Hooters has served as a primary sponsor in more than 150 Cup-level races, notably as the full-season sponsor of 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki. That year, Kulwicki won two races and narrowly edged Elliott's father, 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott , by 10 points to win the title. Hooters is a three-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team in both 2017 and 2018. The Hooters Chevrolet SS will appear again on Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway and Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Speedway. Fans are encouraged to use the #Hooters24 hashtag throughout the year to share their excitement and engage via social media. To receive "When Chase Wins, You Win" coupons via email, register for the Hooters No. 24 Crew in advance of race day at Hooters24.com . Each coupon is redeemable two weeks after the qualifying race at Hooters locations nationwide, dine-in only. Select appetizers qualify for the deal. No purchase necessary for grand prize trip to Las Vegas and purchases do not increase chances of winning. Must be 18 years or older and a legal resident of the (48) contiguous United States or Washington, D.C., to qualify. Registration ends Oct. 23, 2017. To find your nearest Hooters location, visit Hooters.com .
Bill Elliott finds joy in watching his son's rise
RELATED: From tardy slip to pole-sitter " Gordon gets chills watching No. 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The pride on Bill Elliott 's face was unmistakable as he emerged from a small radio interview room Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway . An hour earlier, his 20-year old son, Chase Elliott , had furthered the family's storied name by adding his own remarkable chapter to Daytona 500 record books by winning the pole for Sunday's race. And his dad was visibly moved. The great event's youngest pole-winner ever – by three years – Chase Elliott had just completed a press conference where he was as mindful of realistic expectations for a young rookie in his first Daytona 500 as he was humbled by the historic achievement. RELATED: Relive Chase's Daytona pole, frame-by-frame Chase gets his balanced disposition honestly. His father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , was never one to give in to the hyperbole through an amazing five-decade NASCAR career that included a Cup championship and 44 wins – including two in the Daytona 500 (1985 and 1987). RELATED: Father-son duos with 'Great American Race' pole awards However, this Sunday afternoon, Bill Elliott was wearing the smile of an extremely proud dad – and willing to share the experience with a couple reporters. As calm and calculating as Bill was during his own racing career, he was almost effusive in the pride and love he felt for his son this day. "I try to tell him, 'Enjoy it,'’" Bill Elliott said, grinning. "Because the problem is, then the years turn into 20 to 30 and to 40, and you wonder where it all went." Bill Elliott and his wife, Cindy, had watched their only son's qualifying laps around the sport's most famous speedway while managing both high hope and tempered expectation. As usual, they stood away from the spotlight, only emerging when Chase had sealed this very big deal. "We were in the shadows – where we usually are – just watching and taking it all in, then we walked onto pit road to celebrate with him," Cindy Elliott said while waiting for her son to complete his media obligations Sunday afternoon. "I guess you could say we just had a big Valentine's gift. We're so excited for him. It's a long week so we're pacing; one day at a time." Some of the reserve and realism that characterized Bill's great career is readily evident in his son as well. While answering questions from the media moments earlier, Chase Elliott came off as a much wiser, more sensible person than someone 20 years old should be. He is noticeably measured, and takes time to think about the questions – and he got a flurry of them Sunday afternoon – before answering. And quite often, as he typically does, Chase delivered an alternate perspective from what people might have anticipated. Although cognizant of the hype, Chase does not give in to the great expectations as he takes over Jeff Gordon ’s famed No. 24 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports . He is simultaneously reverent of Gordon's career achievements and yet realistic about the learning curve he, himself, will endure not only this season, but for several to come. And his father's steady guidance and support is both evident and invaluable. "For some reason, he just thinks this is where he wants to be, and that' s it," Bill Elliott said. "I've told him numerous times, 'You know, if this isn't what you really want to do, you need to find something else. It will chew you up and spit you out.' He says, 'Nope, that's what I want to do.' Since he was a little kid it was, 'Yep, I want to drive a race car.' "Since he was little – four or five years old – he always had his Matchbox cars and run them around on these little tracks, totally focused. He'd sit on the pit box on Sundays and tell [then Elliott's team owner] Ray [Evernham] all this stuff." The Elliotts have been such staunch supporters of their son, and subsequently his biggest cheerleaders – whether Chase was winning the prestigious Snowball Derby late model race as a 16-year old or the 2014 XFINITY Series title as an 18-year old in his first full year of big-time NASCAR competition. They have supported, but they have never pushed. “Watching Chase grow up and watching him race, he was pretty good when we raced go-karts on road courses," Bill Elliott recalled. "Then when he moved up and we ran Bandaleros and Legends and he did well with that. But he really excelled when he got in a late model car. That just seemed to be when the light switch went on. And thereafter, no matter what he got in, the heavier, the bigger the car, the better he got. "I'm very proud today. No matter what today brings and Thursday [Can-Am Duels] brings and next Sunday brings is another piece of the puzzle. … You just have to take Daytona and do the best you can to get through it. You just never know."
Despite bumps, Elliott's impressed Gordon, father in rookie season
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend Bill Elliott remembers the conversations with his son. "I said 'If you want to race, then we'll go race. But if you want to go hang out with your buddies on Saturday night, then you can do that. It's your choice,' " Elliott recalled recently. Chase Elliott wanted to race. He wanted to race small cars and big cars, on dirt and on asphalt. So he did. He raced and he won and he lost and he learned. And in 2016, two years removed from winning NASCAR's XFINITY Series title, the youngster was handed the keys to his future -- the seat in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven at the time by four-time series champion Jeff Gordon . Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) signals the end of the '16 season. Elliott will enter the race 10th in points, having qualified for the championship-determining Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup but falling out of title contention after a difficult second round. There have been "a lot of ups and downs this year," he said. "I think the biggest thing I've seen as I've run throughout this year, and Jeff touched on it as we talked in the offseason, he just kept bragging on this group of guys and how good they were and kept saying, 'Man, you're going to a really good group.' I think you have to see some of those things firsthand to really recognize it and appreciate it and as I've gone through this season I really have. I've got some of the best cars you could have to drive. They make me look a lot better than I am. "Those are the kinds of people you want to be surrounded with if you can do that. I really had nothing to do with the group of people that I was assigned, I was just lucky to fall into place where I did at the time I did. That's been one of my biggest takeaways." "I've had some really good cars to drive and I think having that good relationship with this group and to be able to count on the job that Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) does ... he does an incredible job and doesn't get enough credit; he makes my job as easy as you could have it." Elliott has 10 top fives and 17 top-10 finishes this season and won a pair of poles -- at Daytona's season opener and the unpredictable Talladega. He earned career-best second-place finishes at both Michigan races this year and was third twice in the opening round of the Chase. "I think he's very competitive and in the race car to me he's a veteran," Gordon said. "I know he's beat himself up a few times outside the race car but I like that. That means that second or third is not good enough for him. He's got a bright future." The fact that he was able to qualify for the Chase, Gordon said, wasn't a surprise. Not after Elliott won the XFINITY Series title his first time out while driving for JR Motorsports. Paired with teammates Jimmie Johnson , a six-time series champion, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., at HMS, Gordon expected the 20-year-old to excel. "You still never know," Gordon said. "Especially at the Cup level it's very competitive. Not just in the garage level but at Hendrick. To have Jimmie and Kasey and Junior as your teammates, that's going to make you have to step up. But I don't think we would have put him in there if we didn't believe in him. And you know there are going to be some growing pains. I would say there have been far less than I anticipated." Gustafson worked with Kyle Busch , Mark Martin and Gordon at HMS. He said there was never a question of talent when it came to Elliott . But others with talent have come and gone. Younger drivers can go fast but going fast is only part of the equation. Race conditions, passing, altering one's line to adapt to changing track conditions, and the race on an off pit road are additional hurdles to overcome in order to contend. It's what Gustafson refers to as "the art of racing" and said it is something that's "definitely underappreciated" today. "He does that really well," Gustafson said. "Typically in my experience it takes some time to master passing or running in traffic or where you need to move on the track, what you need to do to improve your position. He does a really good job at that. You always can get better -- I think it's something he can learn and change and grow with but I've been pretty impressed with his first year and how he handles all that. "His maturity and mental aptitude and demeanor are pretty far beyond his years. ... Everybody makes mistakes but I think he minimalizes a lot of what you typically see in rookie." LEARNING CURVE Gustafson said Elliott's ability to adapt and digest information quickly when he has struggled in a particular area or at a venue has been impressive. Often, it's the next trip back to that track, or even a year or two, before such improvements bear fruit for a driver. For Elliott , it's sometimes much sooner. Over the course of a weekend in some cases. "It doesn't change through practice but then once he's able to go and digest it, think about it and come back with a game plan ... he attacks it and makes significant improvements," Gustafson said. "It's impressive. I don't know that I've ever worked with a driver that had that ability." The technology available today has been a big help. Elliott will often pour over information gleaned from his teammates while awaiting changes to the car during practice or at day’s end. Where someone brakes in the corner, how fast they pick up the throttle, how much steering they're putting in their car can help when he’s searching for more speed or a better handling ride. And he isn't hesitant to change. The stopwatch doesn't lie, he said. "If the guys have found a way to get you out on the track better for one lap or get you around the race track better for long runs, and that's a proven fact from the stopwatch or tire falloff or whatever data that you can see, then there's no denying that fact," Elliott said. "I think that opens your mind up to try and see what they are doing and how they're going about their job. Amongst our guys or any of the guys in the garage, I just can't see that person X has a car that's that much better than mine. I think you have to recognize that we're in a pretty tight boundary of competition and for you to be way off, well maybe you need to think about how you're driving. Because I know my guys haven't missed it that bad." Gordon, now a FOX NASCAR analyst, says being young or new to the series is a plus; it's easier to absorb the reams of information available without the baggage of preconceived ideas. "You're a sponge," he said, "so you can adapt quickly. "As a team we have to take advantage of that because the longer you go, the harder it is to do that. I think that's one of the things that's made Jimmie so great over all the years is he's been able to do that as well or better than anybody that I know. Someone like Chase, that's as talented and young as he is, I see that in him. That's why I think they've performed consistently very well." Bill Elliott says he tries to look at his son's progression as a driver and not as his son. Either way, he's been impressed with what he's seen. "I think he's done a great job from a driving standpoint," Elliott said. "I really didn't know ... when you come into these deals and you think 'OK, I'm getting in Jeff Gordon 's car and it's already got a pretty good history to it, a damn good history to it, and what are the expectations for a kid that's come in and only run a handful of Cup races prior to this? I've been very impressed." A FAN FAVORITE The elder Elliott won the series' most popular driver award, overseen by the National Motorsports Press Association, a record 16 times. Earnhardt Jr. has won the award the last 13 years. In fact, the award, which has been presented annually since 1953, has gone to someone named Elliott or Earnhardt every year since 1991. Could the younger Elliott be the next in line? He has quickly developed his own following of younger fans while appealing to those who were fans of his father, the 1988 series champion, and to those who were fans of Gordon and the No. 24 team. Voting for this year's MPD award closes Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET. ( www.mostpopulardriver.com ) "The fan base that I acquired the years that I ran was just so phenomenal," Bill Elliott said. "They supported me through thick and thin. I'd fall out of races on some days and there would be fans that would tell me, 'We don't care if you never win another race; we're behind you 100 percent.' To have that kind of following ... I think it just had to do with my background, how I got into the sport, I wasn't part of the established group. I worked hard and tried to do things the right way, which I didn't always do that. But I tried really hard to take care of the race fans because I really respected the fans, whether they were pulling for me or the other drivers. "I think Chase has been very good and very gracious with the fans and he's been able to pick up that group, plus Jeff had a strong fan base. When you've got everything else ... being involved with Dale Jr. on the XFINITY Y side got him exposed to a lot of people. Winning that championship the first year and coming back and finishing second last year, there was a lot going on." Chase Elliott says seeing fans wearing the No. 24 gear carrying his likeness and name wasn't something he was expecting as the year got underway. And while the competition side of the sport is where he's focused, he understands the importance of the fans. "They're what makes it go around," he said. "One thing my dad always touched on was if you're having a bad day or not feeling well, not doing too good, you have to recognize that whether there are two people at an event or 2,000, if you make one person’s day then that goes a long way with that person. Coming from him, I think that's a pretty good word of advice and something to help keep things in perspective." He listens. And he learns. Even if it's sometimes hard to tell. "We were in the shop one day and we were working on the Late Model car," Bill Elliott said. "He asked me how to do something and I told him. Then he argued with me and I told him, 'Well, do it your way.' So there you go. "You know how kids are."
Elliott hopes Dawsonville Pool Room will make plenty of noise in '17
RELATED: Full Media Tour schedule " Elliott through the years CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If Chase Elliott has his way, the Dawsonville Pool Room will be making plenty of noise in 2017. The Dawsonville, Georgia, establishment in Elliott's hometown is known for its ear-splitting howl emitted from a siren on the roof. The practice is the same as when his dad, NASCAR Hall of Famer and 1988 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Bill Elliott won races. The siren notably went off for Chase's back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series wins in 2014 -- his first two at that level. "It would be incredible," Elliott told NASCAR.com of scoring his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win. "I hope the siren still works there at Dawsonville -- that thing hasn't gone off in a long time. Hopefully, we can test it out before too long." MORE: Elliott's storied history with Pool Room If the siren does ring, Elliott may be close enough to hear it. An avid flyer with a pilot's license -- Elliott says if he wasn't a driver he'd be a pilot -- the 21-year-old flies back and forth from the Charlotte area to his home in Georgia during the season. Elliott says "it's good to do your own thing in some ways." "Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) has been supportive and our whole group has," Elliott said of his flying in and out. "As long as you’re willing to put in the work to make it work, I'm going to try and make it work." There were a couple of times last year when it looked like Elliott would drive into Victory Lane in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie campaign and prompt the siren to go off, but that was not the case. Still, the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the sport's top series notched 10 top fives, 17 top 10s, 358 laps led and two runner-up finishes at Michigan International Speedway , in addition to qualifying for the playoffs -- the first rookie along with Chris Buescher to do so since Denny Hamlin in 2006. Having continuity coming into the 2017 season is something not lost on Elliott . In his two years in the XFINITY ranks, he had a different crew chief each season. Gustafson returns to lead Elliott and the No. 24 team for his sophomore season at the top level. "One thing I'm excited about, which I haven't had in the last few years, is having the same crew chief two years in a row. I haven't had that. I really enjoyed working with Alan last year. I think he's one of the best. "Everyone says that about their crew chiefs, but I'm pretty confident saying that. He does a great job and is underrated in what he does and how hard he works in trying to make a race team go." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;