Bill Elliott’s Young Son Was Winchester’s Top Gun
Bill Elliott isn’t your typical racing dad. Throughout the budding racing career of his now 14-year-old son Chase, Elliott could best be described as The Eternal Realist.
His quotes about his son all sounded a cautious theme:
“We’re just taking this one step at a time,” he’d say. Or, “We’ve still got to get through the teenage years.” And, “I’m not going to push him.”
And the old “This is a tough business. You never know what will happen.”
And he and his wife Cindy have stuck by their initial policy of not letting racing interfere with their son’s schooling, and they try to make sure that he does his share of work around the shop and minds his manners.
But after Chase Elliott won Sunday’s prestigious Winchester 400, Bill Elliott couldn’t help himself as he sized up his son’s performance on a treacherous old track with 34-degree banking.
“He drove a really smart race,” Elliott said, as he began rattling off a list of his peers who have won that race over the years, names like Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace and Kyle Busch.
Elliott said that even though Sunday’s race turned out to be one with significant attrition, he said that shouldn’t take away from his son’s accomplishments.
“I believe that if Kyle Busch (last year’s 400 winner) had been here, Chase would still have been right there,” he said.
Bill Elliott also said he believes that his son’s skills, even at age 14, would transfer to Sprint Cup cars. “I think you could put him in a Cup car at Bristol right now and he’d be fast,” Elliott said.
Elliott also pointed out that his son’s 12 victories this year, all of them in major short track events, give him one more than his dad won in 1985 in his best season in Sprint Cup.
For the Elliotts, the dilemma now is what to do for the next few years. NASCAR’s top divisions are off limits to drivers under 18, so Chase Elliott is basically going to have to run some of the same races and places that he’s already conquered this year.
He has begun racing in the USAR Pro Cup Series, the old Hooter’s outfit, but after mediocre finishes in his first few starts, he put up an impressive second-place effort in the circuit’s most recent race, a championship race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. And he’s already won championships on the Gulf Coast, at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., and at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway. And he won the reopening Late Model race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
For his part, Chase Elliott said the success he’s having this year is surprising.
He said his Winchester victory “shows how hard everyone has worked because of what goes into a race like this one. I just can’t believe it really.”
And he said that even though he’s had a dream season so far, there’s still room for improvement.
“We’ve been getting a lot closer all year, and I still think we lack a little in certain areas, but everybody keeps working hard,” he said.
It was suggested to Bill Elliott that he use the Winchester victory to get his son some media exposure, and to go for it while the news is fresh.
But Elliott said that poses a problem.
“He can’t do interviews when he’s in class in school,” Elliott said.
Bob Senneker and Mike Eddy never had to worry about that on a Monday morning after winning Winchester.
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment