Dawsonville’s Elliotts Come Up Big On Sunday

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 28 2019
Chase Elliott was a winner on Sunday. As was his father. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

TALLADEGA, Ala. – The Dawsonville Pool Room siren rang twice on Sunday.

Chase Elliott zoomed to victory in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway while, just over 150 miles to the east, NASCAR legend Bill Elliott captured the Walter Mitty Challenge vintage car race at Road Atlanta.

Chase learned of his dad’s feat in the media center while celebrating his own victory. 

The sport’s most popular driver, and quite possibly its white knight, soared into the lead with four laps remaining Sunday, then held on to notch a wildly popular win in front of a massive crowd.

A year after scoring the first three wins of his young career at Watkins Glen, Dover and Kansas, the 23-year-old driver from Dawsonville, Ga. finally got a taste of winning near his hometown.

As the field cautiously worked its way back to the finish line, it was evident that the track long known as “Earnhardt Country” had a new adopted son.

“This is one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me,” Elliott said. “The crowd here is just insane. This feels like home for me.

“The post-race celebration was unbelievable. It felt like I had the crowd in the palm of my hands.”

Following the day’s final restart with six laps remaining, Joey Logano, widely-regarded as one of the sport’s top superspeedway drivers, was poised to give team owner Roger Penske his fourth trophy this season.

But a defensive maneuver a lap later by the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion sent his No. 22 Ford spiraling in the running order.

“I felt like I needed to block (the competition) and keep them behind me,” said Logano, who recovered to finish fourth. “I just opened the door for Chase.”

With teammate Alex Bowman latched onto his rear bumper, Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet surged into the lead with four laps remaining.

With the near-capacity Talladega waving and roaring their approval, Elliott managed to hold off Bowman on the backstretch as the caution flag waved after Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet got sideways and began a series of spectacular barrel rolls.

Bowman, still in search for his first career win, had no qualms with trying to ruin Sunday’s storybook finish.

“I felt like I was in the catbird’s seat and that I could get a run (in the trioval),” Bowman said.

Bowman never had an opportunity to challenge for the win. But if the race had stayed green, Elliott would have been ready.

“I knew something was coming for sure,” Elliott said. “I was committed to the bottom and he was going to have to come off the bottom. And I was going to come off the bottom with him.”

When peppered with questions following the race if he’s ready to be the next face of NASCAR, Elliott seemed to downplay the role.

“All I can say is I want people to come and have a hell of a time at the race track,” he said.

“At the end of the day, you want to build a product that is exciting to watch. If you’re making something entertaining on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, I think they’ll come.”

And taking into account his four wins during the past nine months, does Elliott at least consider himself the new face of Hendrick Motorsports?

Following a brief pause, he smiled and said “I think as long as there is a seven-time champion in the building (Jimmie Johnson), he will always carry the banner.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 28 2019
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  • Shane Seabolt says:

    So glad to see Chase get the win today. I’d say the crowd was definitely behind him. It was great to see an Elliot back in victory lane at Talladega…..even sweeter with Awesome Bill getting a win of his own.