Chase Elliott did not advance to the A-main race on Wednesday night and has a lot of work to do on Saturday at the 2021 Chili Bowl Nationals. However, he certainly had a lot to learn in his debut Chili Bowl appearance and, in his words, ‘had a blast.’
For the NASCAR Cup Series champion, Wednesday’s time behind the wheel of a midget car in the biggest midget dirt event there is, was all about learning as much as he could.
Elliott finished in eighth place in his B-main race, after finishing fourth and seventh in his heat and qualifying races, respectively. In his own assessment, Elliott felt he was ‘really off’ throughout the day.
However, just towards the end of the race, he felt he was really starting to find his range. Elliott was in fifth place during the B-main race before he spun after contact with another driver. He then restarted from the back, but soon managed to pick up eight spots before the race ended.
“I felt like, after a couple of restarts in the B, I was finally learning, finally understanding a little bit of what I needed to do,” Elliott said after his race.
The 25-year-old wished he had at least 30 more laps, as the race ended while he just got into some sort of rhythm.
“I was able to put some corners together. Felt like up until then, I hadn’t really put three or four corners in a row all day. That was the best I felt all day. Wish I had another 30 laps or something to go and keep learning,” Elliott added.
Just like he mentioned even before arriving in Tulsa for the event, Elliott’s focus is on learning the most he can this week. He has another opportunity to do so on Saturday, starting in the F-main race.
The Hendrick Motorsports star is not concerned about the results this week, and his aim on Saturday is to make all the laps and gain more track time.
“Just trying to learn all I can, man. This place is tough. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this discipline. I respected it for a long time. Wanted to come give it a shot and wanted to be a part of it, and I felt like this was the right opportunity.”
“Just gonna keep learning. And whatever main we’re on Saturday, just try to make all the laps,” Elliott added further.
The Chili Bowl event is just another step in Elliott’s plans to explore various forms of racing. Later this month, he steps in the iconic endurance race – the Rolex 24 Hours – at Daytona. The reigning NASCAR champ is happy to be busy before his title defense begins.