“Lot of Excitement” – Chase Elliott Recalls His Maiden Start in the NASCAR Cup Series

Published 09/08/2021, 11:54 AM EDT
TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 27: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet, walks on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Following the first playoff race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup series season, a number of drivers, including Alex Bowman, the Busch brothers, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Martin Truex Jr, spoke about their first Cup race. Among them was also defending champion Chase Elliott. The Hendrick Motorsports driver made his Cup Series debut all the way back in 2015 at Martinsville.

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Elliott said, “Just a lot of excitement, obviously one of the biggest opportunities of my life. I remember going into that weekend and it was supposed to rain on Friday and it did and we didn’t have any points. So if it rained out qualifying, we weren’t going to be able to race. I just remember really stressing about it raining. I was more worried about that than anything.

“Fortunately, it didn’t rain. We got to qualify. We got to race, learned some valuable lessons that I take to Martinsville to this day.”

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What else did Chase Elliott say?

Since his debut in 2015, the Hendrick Motorsports #9 driver has grown in leaps and bounds. Everything culminated in a well-deserved title triumph in 2020. That year, he picked up two wins in the regular season and was not exactly a favorite to win, but he triumphed anyway.

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Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Elliott continued, “I feel like they picked some good tracks for me because they were tough, and I think (crew chief Alan Gustafson) had a play in that. I think they did those things on purpose to help me get a little bit of a head start and know kind of what was coming at some of these really challenging race tracks.

“Might not have had much fun in the moment at some of those tracks, but I did feel there was a reason they were looking out for my best interests down the road.”

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This year, the Hendrick Motorsports driver is once again competing in the Playoffs. Unfortunately, the first race at the Darlington Raceway did not bode well for any Hendrick driver, barring Kyle Larson. Now at Richmond this weekend, Chase Elliott and his teammates will seek redemption.

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Dhruv George

11975 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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