What a difference ten whole years can make. Circa 2010, a teenage Chase Elliott was signed by Hendrick Motorsports to compete in the junior levels of American racing.
He only built his strengths after that, making his way up the ladder. Last Sunday’s race at Phoenix illuminated a culmination of all the hard work and efforts that Elliot has put in.
However, how did his team owner Rick Hendrick get in touch with the No.9? Speaking in an interview, he revealed the first steps involved in adding Elliott to their ranks.
The 71-year-old is quoted as saying, “When he was 14, that’s when we made our deal.
“It was a combination of Ray Evernham and my talent scout, James Finch.”
“At that age, I was just really amazed at what he was doing,” he added.
“Chase and I sat down, and Bill started telling me what he thought Chase ought to do and I said I’ll make the commitment to you. Let’s follow your path and we’ll work a way up into the Xfinity Series and go from there.”
Elliott first began racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series when he was 15. However, it was not until his Xfinity season in 2015, that he was noticed. What followed was a chance to race in the Cup series.
“It’s just been a remarkable relationship and I am really glad that James Finch and Ray Evernham brought him to my attention when he was young at 14. Hard to believe it’s been ten years,” said Rick.
Perhaps what worked in Chase’s favor was his familiarity with NASCAR growing up. He recently talked about his earliest memories of racing, which came about when he was four years old.
His father, Bill Elliott, was then racing for the Evernham Motorsports team. One can make the case then, that racing and NASCAR were in Chase’s blood from the beginning.
Having impressed in the Xfinity Series, Elliott entered the big league with a lot of dreams. He did not disappoint in his debut season, where he came famously close to getting his first Cup Series win in Michigan.
From that day in 2016 until today, it has been a story filled with blood, sweat and tears of the man from Dawsonville. Make no mistake, Chase Elliott is only just getting started with his own lasting legacy.