Elliott Trusts Cousin To Be Spot On

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 29 2021

Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott has a new spotter whom he knows well. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Tom Copeland)

CONCORD, N.C. – When NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott learned four days before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 that he had lost his spotter indefinitely he turned to his cousin Trey Poole for help.

Poole had spotted for Elliott at several road course races, including the Circuit of the Americas last weekend when the Georgia driver recorded his first victory this season. He also spotted for Elliott during his Late Model days when his father, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bill Elliott, couldn’t attend an event because he was racing in the Cup Series.

“He knows me as well as anybody and I know him as well as anybody knows him,” the 25-year-old Elliott said about Poole. “He’s been to enough races and knows how this works enough to know what’s important and what’s not. It just made the most sense.”   

Elliott’s need for a new spotter occurred Wednesday when his regular spotter, Eddie D’Hondt, was suspended indefinitely by Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR after it was learned he had been arrested earlier this month on domestic violence charges. NASCAR suspended D’Hondt for his conduct and for failing to report the arrest to NASCAR within the required 72 hours. According to court records, D’Hondt was arrested on May 12. The 62-year-old D’Hondt was charged in Catawba County, N.C., with battery on an unborn child and assault on a woman. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 7 (unborn child) and June 30 (assault on a woman). In a statement released to Autoweek, D’Hondt’s attorney said his client was “innocent” and looked “forward to his day in court.”

“Eddie has been great to me over the years,” Elliott said. “I’ll support him the best way I know how. We’ll have to respect the timeline and let the system work as it should.”  

In addition to Elliott, D’Hondt spots for Justin Allgaier in the Xfinity Series and Austin Hill in the Camping World Truck Series. Poole spotted for Hill in Friday night’s truck race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tyler Monn, who spots for Kyle Larson in the Cup Series, handled those duties for Allgaier on Saturday, also at the 1.5-mile Charlotte track.

Elliott considered asking his father to be his spotter, but noted it wouldn’t work logistically because of his participation in the six-race SRX Series to be televised on CBS starting June 12. He also wasn’t sure his father wanted to be at the track every week.

“I think he wants to come, support and enjoy more than being in the battle all the time,” Elliott said about his father.

 Elliott and Poole have been friends since childhood. They often traveled to Charlotte Motor Speedway together where they raced Legends cars in different classes.

“Having some history racing, I think is a good thing to have in a spotter,” Elliott said. “It’s different being in a car versus just watching. He knows how it works. He knows what’s important and what’s not. Obviously, he knows me very well, and he just fits into our group. That goes a long way when you’re trying to feel a role quickly like that.

“He’s raced enough and he’s watched me race enough and listened to me on the radio and listened to our team over the years to kinda know what the conversation is like, what I value as important information. We don’t really talk a lot on the radio unless something needs to be said. You don’t have to talk much to do a good job.”

Elliott noted that his cousin “does have other jobs and other things going on so I hope we can keep him until we figure out what’s going on down the road.”  

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 29 2021
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