Chase Elliott To Compete Fulltime in NASCAR Nationwide Seriesby Hunter Thomas January 6, 2014
Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR
JR Motorsports announced today that Chase Elliott, son of 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Bill Elliott will pilot the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet fulltime in the NASCAR Nationwide Series during the 2014 season.
“Obviously it means the world to me,” Chase Elliott said. “I’m really looking forward to this year. I feel like it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. As I’ve told a lot of people now, it’s my chance to do what I love to do. For me I just want to try to make the most of it, and I feel like everything is where it needs to be for us to have success if everybody goes about their jobs to the best of their ability, and I think everybody is ready to get going.”
Chase Elliott earned his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series win at Iowa Speedway in 2012, and in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, he became the youngest driver in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history to capture a win. He capped off the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with one win, 5 top-five and 7 top-10 finishes in only 9 starts. The 18 year old also finished runner-up in the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway, won the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville and the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway.
“This is my chance to do what I love to do and to make a career out of this,” Elliott said. “All the racing and all the learning and all the driving up and down the road, going short-track racing these past few years, this is all what this is about, and all it’s all been for. It’s always been a goal to just try to prepare me and learn how to race and race as much as possible.”
The No. 9 is very special to Elliott, because not only is it the number he grew up racing, but his father had a lot of success throughout the years with the number as well. Whenever you think of Bill Elliott, more than likely the first car that’ll come to mind is the red, gold and white No. 9 car. Most of Chase’s memories of his father racing was of him driving the No. 9 car for Ray Evernham in the early millennium.
Chase Elliott said, “I’ve been the No. 9 car in pretty much anything I’ve ever driven except for the couple times it’s been taken, and I ran 94 in the Truck Series, which 94 is also a very memorable, meaningful number for the Elliott family, as well.
“The No. 9 for me, that kind of all started, obviously the ’80s, the late ’80s for my dad was a little before my time, but the 2001, 2002 Evernham days is kind of where I gained my liking for the No. 9, and that’s kind of why I’ve always stuck with it.”
With the once in a lifetime opportunity also comes the extra added pressure while carrying the Elliott name. Chase will more than likely experience much of what Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other sons of legends have experienced when it comes to success and lack of. But, so far in Chase’s career, he’s been able to back it all up with solid finishes in nearly every type of car he has competed in.
“I think one of the things that comes along with having a namesake like Earnhardt or Elliott or Allison or Blaney or Burton is just that you already have a reputation to uphold from your family, and Chase has that with his dad and the success that they experienced,” Kelly Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports said. “But people can — there’s already the integrity built into that name that we all stand for, our last name, your surname. And people can look back at that and know — they can kind of already tell who we are and what we’ve come from because of that last name, because we were raised by those folks.”