Young Chase Elliott (left) talks with his father Bill before a race at Ponoco in 2002.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
After the big wins at Texas and Darlington by youngster Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, I’ve had a lot of fans ask me if he is for real. They also ask a lot of questions about his father Bill, car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and of course the man Chase is ultimately driving for, Rick Hendrick.
I think the story here is not just about winning races. I think what we are all witnessing the emergence of a future star in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. But what impresses and excites me the most is watching the genuine joy between a father and son in racing.
NASCAR has always been a family sport. That’s the roots of our sport. You’ve seen it over the decades with the Frances, the Pettys, the Flocks, the Waltrips, the Woods, the Allisons, the Elliotts and on and on. Right now today we are seeing it with the Elliotts again. Back when Bill was racing it was he and his family. Now it is Bill providing the encouragement and support, and his son is doing the racing.
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If you watch Bill and his son closely for any amount of time, you really are seeing a relationship between two best friends. Bill is there when Chase needs him and offers advice when asked. At the same time, Bill is giving Chase all the space he needs to develop and grow on his own. Bill is definitely not one to be overbearing and forceful when it comes to Chase.
It’s just a really, really special story that has already produced two unbelievable consecutive wins that Chase has put in the books. Again, the wins are special but it all goes back to the relationship between a father and his son. That’s always more special than any win can deliver.