Dawsonville’s Chase Elliot has proven once again that he can drive anything on wheels – in dirt or on asphalt.
He proved it last weekend with back-to-back weekend victories – one on the dirt banks at Tri-County Race Track in North Carolina, and the other in front of his home crowd on the half-mile asphalt track at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson.
And now, the 17 year-old driver has his eyes fixed on one of NASCAR’s top three touring divisions, the Camping World Truck Series (CWTS). Elliott has nine CWTS races scheduled, with his first career start in this weekend’s Kroger 250 event, to be held Saturday, Apr. 6, at Martinsville Speedway, Va.
Gordon Pirkle, CEO of the GRHOF said the event is sure to be action-packed.
“This is a huge deal for the Elliotts and for Dawsonville,” said Pirkle. “A little ole town like this has a Cup Champion and now his son, being from the same little old town is making a name for himself. We should really be proud of our racing roots. I’m proud to say I’m from the same town.”
Pirkle said plans are being finalized to show Elliott’s debut appearance in the Camping World Truck Series, on the big screen at the GRHOF, on Saturday, April 6, beginning at 1 p.m.
“Even if you don’t plan on staying for the whole event, we want everyone to come out and leave well-wishes for Chase,” said Pirkle. Although details have not yet been released, Pirkle is working on a special gift for Elliott and is asking the community to help him with the project.
“You just gotta come by and see it for yourself. Let’s show him how much we support him,” Pirkle added.
The son of 1988 Cup Series Champion Bill Elliott, the younger Elliott is adamant about making a name of his own through hard work and his own skills.
“He’s my dad and I’m me, and I’m trying to make a name for myself. I’m going to try to do my best no matter what,” Elliott said in a recent press released posted on his official website, chaseelliott.com.
Elliott will drive the No. 94 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet and hopefully steer it straight into his comfort zone – victory lane.
This past weekend Elliott found himself on victory lane Friday night when he picked up his first dirt Crate Late Model win at Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, N.C. It was only his third start in a dirt late model.
Then, the following Saturday, Elliott contented in Gresham’s season opener, the Larry Fleeman Memorial 198. Elliott found himself in a competitive field of Pro Late Model drivers, including Augie Grill, Bubba Pollard, Hunter Robins, and Russell Fleeman.
The opening half of the event was calm for Elliott, but the action was unleashed in the second segment, as he fended off challenge after challenge, while running on older tires.
“It was pretty eventful, especially when we were out there on those old tires, and those guys were coming,” said Elliott in victory lane. “I knew they were coming. I just had a percent of a chance if I could hold them off on the top.”
Pit strategy enabled Elliott to move into the best positioning during the 98 laps remaining in the second segment. A perfect time to be strategizing placement, with the battle for position increasing due to rain being reported in the area. Elliott held on to the lead for more than 30 laps of the second half, battling door-to-door with Fleeman, Alex Guenette, and Kyle Plott. When Plott made contact with Guenette, the caution flag was dropped and it allowed Elliott a chance for fresh tires.
With 27 laps remaining, Elliott made his way down pit road with Grill and Pollard following suit. Fleeman remained on the track and moved into the lead position for the race named in honor of his late father.
On the restart the lead position was taken by Robbins, moving Fleeman into second and 13 year-old Garrett Jones into third. But, Elliott and Grill were quickly approaching the front and with 23 laps to go, Grill maneuvered around Fleeman, snagging second while Elliott remained closely behind. Two laps later, Grill and Elliott were leading the field. With only 17 remaining, Elliott fired up his veteran-style driving tactics and bolted to the inside of Grill, making the final pass for the lead position in the third turn.
Once he made the pass and he was back in the comfort zone, Elliott pulled away, to a 3.740 second margin out front.
“Hats off to Russell and those guys for racing me clean,” Elliott said in victory lane. “They could have very easily run in there and wrecked us, or moved me up the race track at the very least. It’s fun racing like that, and obviously I thought that was a great show for the fans, running side by side like that.”Angela Williamson – Dawson Advertiser