“Well, I felt like as a team we were capable of winning and doing it often. I felt like I believed in my ability to do so. I believed in my team’s ability, Alan’s ability, our pit crew, road crew, the whole deal. That’s never really been a question mark in my mind.”- Kansas race winner Chase Elliott.
With three wins on the campaign, the son of 1988 champion and winner of 44 races has starting carving out his own niche in NASCAR. Oh sure, the Elliott name opened doors for Chase, but you can be pushed back out just as easily as you were let in.
One thing that being the son of a NASCAR champion has given him is knowledge and perspective. Chase Elliott knows what it takes to win on “stock” car racing’s biggest stage, and he’s seen all the challenges that come with it. He says you can’t assume you’re going to win another one, because it happens. Remember Kasey Kahne? He was once a prolific racer, then suddenly, it began fading away. You really can’t relax.
Chase Elliott says he felt like the capacity for success was always there, but the speed wasn’t as the season unfolded. Perspective. Sometimes you know you’ve got the talent, but not everything is in place to win races. It can be easy- especially for a young driver- to want to change the way they drive, and make unneeded adjustments. As the legendary football coach Bum Phillips would say, “You got to dance with who brung ya.”
Sure, it doesn’t hurt when your boss is Rick Hendrick. Knowing that you’re following in the steps of Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson is certainly cause for confidence. You may encounter times when you’re down, but you won’t stay there long if the talent is there.
Most of all, you’ve got the ear of one who’s been there and done that. When that ear belongs to William Clyde Elliott Sr., you can’t get much better. Maybe you could say Chase Elliott really is there because of his dad. That kind of wisdom and guidance will get you through if you’ve got the talent. Guess what? Chase Elliott has got the talent.