View Count: 236 |  Publish Date: April 05, 2014
Chase Elliott arrives as NASCAR's next big star
JENNA FRYER, The Associated PressPosted: Saturday, April 5, 2014, 4:45 PM
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Bill Elliott rarely got rattled during his three-plus decades racing at NASCARs highest level. He worked hard, didnt worry about what was going on around him, and did his talking on the track.
He was Awesome Bill From Dawonsville and fans idolized the way Elliott conducted himself both inside the car and out.
Now, 11 years after his final full-time season, theres another Elliott turning heads for the very same reasons.
Chase Elliott scored his first career Nationwide Series victory on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, winning in just his sixth start at NASCARs junior varsity level. Hes the second-youngest winner in series history, clocking in at roughly four months older than record-holder Joey Logano, who was 18 years and 21 months when he won in 2008.
They called Logano Sliced Bread at the time, as in, hes the next best thing since ...
Chase Elliott doesnt need a nickname. Hes simply the future of NASCAR, and its a role car co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes Elliott can handle.
Hes just really humble, but very understanding of whats happening to him, Earnhardt Jr. said. He grew up with his father as a racer and saw how popular Bill was and Im sure has been in and around situations where hes not going to be overwhelmed with the attention. Hes really focused on his racing and trying to do well. Hes young, doesnt have a lot of distractions, and, you know, got a good family unit so he should be in good hands.
As Earnhardt lauded the JR Motorsports rookie, praising Elliotts maturity, calm demeanor, and eagerness to listen and learn, he was asked if the young driver reminds him of anyone else.
His daddy, Earnhardt said. Theyre similar in personality. You had to really work him over to get him upset. He was normally just concerned with his car, getting his car faster, and, you know, back in the mid 80s when Bill and his brothers just focused on what they were doing and they would show up and whoop everybody, you know, and they werent arrogant and cocky, they just showed up and ran. Thats what he reminds me of.
Chase Elliott, who had a short window to celebrate the win before he had to head back to the dog days of his senior year of high school in Georgia, things growing up in racing has kept him down to earth during his rapid rise to NASCARs national level.
Thats just kind of how Ive grown up and I dont know if thats the right or wrong way to be, but thats how I am and hopefully it will work out, he said.
And despite the easygoing nature he exudes, he insists hes got a high-level of energy and excitement that rivals any other teenager.
Winning races gets me excited, he said while donning the traditional Texas race-winners cowboy hat. Hopefully I can do more of that and Ill be more excited in the future.
Thats Earnhardts hope for Elliott and Regan Smith, the two full-time drivers for JR Motorsports.
Elliotts win on Friday night gave him a two-point lead over Smith in the Nationwide Series standings, and thats where Earnhardt wants his drivers to remain.
Smith led the points for 10 consecutive weeks last season before ultimately finishing third in the final standings.
We want to win a championship so bad this year, Earnhardt said. We feel like we learned a lot last year going through that process with Regan, and now we have two teams that are really capable of getting the job done. If everybody keeps their head on straight, lets everybody else - all the drivers in the series make all their mistakes - we should be able to be in a good situation when we get to Homestead. Previous Story:Tony Stewart edges Keselowski for pole at Texas JENNA FRYERThe Associated Press #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}0 comments

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