Analysis: Chase Elliott is ideal successor to Jeff Gordon

One of the biggest news stories that came out of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour last week was one of the worst kept secrets in NASCAR — Chase Elliott’s appointment as driver of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 car beginning in 2016. The young man is obviously an exceptional talent.

I was very relieved to hear that Hendrick Motorsports wasn’t going to run him full time in 2015 in preparation for taking over the No. 24 next year. They are going to run him in five NASCAR Sprint Cup events this year, which will go a long way in providing that young man with some very valuable seat time. That will be in addition to his full-time ride in the Xfinity Series where he hopes to defend his crown as champion in 2014.

The boy has never had a really bad run in anything he’s gotten behind the wheel of yet. We all know it will happen, and how he reacts when things aren’t going well will tell us a lot. He’s going to go through the normal growing pains any rookie does when you reach our sport’s premier series.

Again, that’s why I think the five NASCAR Sprint Cup races this year will be invaluable to him in his learning process as he prepares for full time in 2016. Chase is the perfect heir to the legendary No. 24 car. He’s young, a good-looking kid and very well-spoken. On top of all that, he comes from NASCAR royalty as his Dad, Bill Elliott, won the 1988 championship and was just inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last Friday.

So the future is very bright for young Chase Elliott and I, for one, can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

 

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