Chase Elliott Highlights Biggest Differences Between NASCAR and Dirt Track Racing After Debut Dirt Race

Published 01/06/2021, 9:10 AM EST
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – OCTOBER 28: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet, enters his car to start the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott did something different from many drivers usually do during the off-season, especially after winning a maiden Cup title. Elliott is keeping himself busy with racing in the off-season, transitioning to dirt track racing altogether.

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He ran his debut dirt track and midget car race at the Carolina Midget Showdown a few weeks ago. He used the event to get a good taste of this form of racing, ahead of his debut appearance in the Chili Bowl Nationals this coming week.

Elliott did not disappoint in his run at Millbridge Speedway, finishing in third and fourth place respectively in the two races. At the same time, he learned something new about another racing discipline and how it is different from NASCAR.

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During a recent interview, he opened up on those differences and his new experience.

“The aggression level you need (to be successful) is really high. You just have to go,” Elliott explained.

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – AUGUST 02: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, exits his car after the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott talks about the difference in intensity levels

The 25-year-old said that the biggest difference between NASCAR and dirt racing was the intensity levels needed from the first minute itself in dirt racing. This is not required in NASCAR, where the real intense action happens in the last few laps.

“There is no waiting around. I think that’s the biggest difference for me, is just that the intensity level is up from the get-go and not in just the last 100 miles or so of one of our normal (NASCAR Cup Series) events.

“That’s really cool, though, honestly. If you have an opportunity, you have to take it,” Elliott expressed.

Such high-intensity action and always being on your toes makes this form of racing exciting, feels Elliott. “I think that’s what makes this type of racing entertaining sometimes, for sure,” he added.

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and his father Bill Elliott pose for a photo after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Elliott’s build-up to the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals

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At the Carolina Midget Showdown, Elliott had fellow NASCAR drivers Chase Briscoe and Kyle Larson to help and guide him. He learned a lot from the two drivers, who have a lot of experience in these racing disciplines. Larson, especially, as he is considered as one of the best dirt racers ever.

The three men will meet again at the Chili Bowl Nationals, which is also known as the ‘Super Bowl’ of Midget car racing. Many other top NASCAR drivers will also accompany them at the prestigious event.

For Elliott, such varied experiences will help him become a better race car driver in general. This helps as he looks to defend his NASCAR title in 2021.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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