Dispirited Chase Elliott Delivers Monumental Gift to His Father on Bill Elliott’s Big Day

Published 10/09/2023, 9:19 AM EDT

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In NASCAR, if there’s a Spielberg behind the scenes, it has to be the legendary Rick Hendrick! Not just a team owner but a visionary; one might even think he’s got some kind of clairvoyant power up his sleeve. Why, you ask? Just look at his star pick, Chase Elliott. It’s like predicting the next blockbuster star before they’ve even auditioned!

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Diving into the stellar stats of Chase Elliott, in a rollercoaster of 267 races spread over a thrilling 9-year ride, he has clinched 18 first-place trophies, zoomed into the top 10 a whopping 151 times, and claimed the pole position 12 times. And even at the Charlotte racetrack on a day already significant to the Elliott legacy, HMS’s young protagonist added another sparkling feather to his cap.

What feat has Chase Elliott achieved?

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When William Byron roared to victory in Texas, he didn’t just grab the checkered flag. No, he nudged Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) to a staggering 300 wins since its 1984 inception. And while this powerhouse team’s trophy cabinet might be heaving, its drivers are clearly not resting on their laurels!

Enter Chase Elliott, 2023’s most riveting racer. His year started with a not-so-rad snowboarding accident and then cascaded into a series of heart-thumping races. But here’s the kicker: even after dazzling fans with his prowess, he remained without a win. This was sure to leave the Elliott offspring dispirited, but another monumental achievement made its way into Chase Eliott’s cabinet of achievements!

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Cue Charlotte, where, after blazing through 15 lead laps, Elliott cruised into an awe-inspiring milestone: 5000 laps led in the Cup Series! Now for the fairy-tale twist, on the very day Elliott scripted this racing history, Georgia was celebrating “Bill Elliott Day,” a tradition since 2005 to honor Chase’s legendary dad. Talk about timing! Surely, Chase’s heart might have swelled with pride, echoing the state’s jubilation. Moreover, following this, he would likely want to join the exclusive club of 21 drivers, including JGR favorite Denny Hamlin, who have all hit the 10,000 milestone.

Not to mention, achievement seems to be the Elliott family’s favorite hobby. As Chase was basking in his glory, his uncle, Ernie Elliott, was sweeping up a unique award of his own. Clearly, when it comes to the Elliotts, racing greatness is a family affair.

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Chase Elliott accepts an award on behalf of his uncle

Picture this: the roaring engines, the thrill of the track, and a legacy that’s spanned decades. Enter Ernie Elliott, the wizard behind the wheel and under the hood, who, alongside his dynamic sibling, Bill Elliott, left an indelible mark on NASCAR. Their dream team prowess was the key ingredient in Bill’s dazzling dance to the NASCAR Cup Series crown in 1988. But let’s not forget Ernie’s solo brilliance. He didn’t just revive engines; he revolutionized them! In 1985, the title of Engine Builder of the Year was all his, and by the end of the ’80s? He was the undeniable engine builder of the decade.

Flash forward to a sun-soaked Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the Smokey Yunick Award awaited its next worthy recipient. An accolade named after the iconic mechanic, Henry “Smokey” Yunick, it’s been the hallmark of recognizing NASCAR legends since 1997. And while it was Ernie’s name that glittered on the award, it was the hands of Chase Elliott, the young NASCAR sensation and proud nephew, that received the honor on behalf of his uncle.

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Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the next Elliott generation might also rev up to carry forth this racing legacy. NASCAR fans will hope the tracks will always echo the name ‘Elliott’.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. Using her gravitation towards the mechanical side of racing, paired with her affinity for writing, she easily brings out some of the most technical aspects of the sport in her pieces, which the readers find quite interesting. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her audience distinguishes her as a sports journalist.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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