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Chase Elliott continues wowing NASCAR

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Chase Elliott isn't really sure what he has accomplished the last two weeks in becoming the youngest Nationwide driver with multiple victories.

Elliott acknowledged he was still in shock over his first series win at Texas Motor Speedway when he doubled up at Darlington Raceway, coming from back in the pack the final two laps on Friday night for a second consecutive triumph.

"Me telling you guys that last week, I still can't believe that, I'm not lying to you," Elliott told The Associated Press on Saturday. "Last week was really a dream come true. To come out of Texas with the win was unbelievable. I'm still not sure I completely believe that, much less to come out with a win at Darlington, that's crazy. I don't know what to think."

Elliott certainly has the pedigree to succeed at NASCAR as the son of Sprint Cup great Bill Elliott. Yet, Chase was never pushed into the sport by his father, growing to love it as he watched Bill Elliott compete toward the tail end of a stellar career.

"It was never forced upon me by any means," Elliott said of his dad. "He pushed me to be the best I could be because that was my decision. He's not one of those dads that force you to do something because they want you to do it."

Apparently, the younger Elliott does that really well.

He outran Kevin Harvick last week at Texas, then moved past veterans Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler after a late restart to win at Darlington in his first time at the track. Elliott has the points lead (by 7 over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith) and can't wait to relocate from his Dawsonville, Ga., home to the team's race shop in Mooresville, N.C., once he graduates high school next month.

Chase Elliott Wins At Texas

"I think about racing nonstop, whether I'm at school or over at the race track, it really doesn't matter," Chase Elliott said.

So while friends and classmates discuss cut days, vacations and college plans, Elliott focuses on the next race.

Watching Chase compete in late model cars, Bill Elliott thought his son had the driving ability to succeed in the sport. It's the mental makeup of handling the ups and downs that come with NASCAR Bill Elliott works to instill in Chase.

"Here's a roller-coaster and you've got to hang on for dear life and hopefully it ends up where you want it to be on top at the end of your career," Bill Elliott said. "For me, I've been very happy, but I know it's a double-edged sword" of worrying about your child.

Chase Elliott wasn't the only young Nationwide driver wowing the circuit. Kyle Larson, the 21-year-old driver who won last month at Auto Club Speedway in California, started from the back of the field, yet was second to Busch late in the race before the final restart.

At one point earlier in the race, Elliott and Larson were side by side, bumping and grinding against each other through Darlington's misshapen corners and tight straightaways. It looked as though both young guys would find the wall - and the garage.

"I thought our night was 100 percent finished," Elliott said. "I thought both of us were getting ready to pile it up pretty good."

Instead, the two straightened things out to make it to the end - perhaps one of the earliest tangles the two young stars might have on NASCAR tracks across the country over the next couple of decades.

"I'd like to think so," Elliott said. "Kyle's obviously a talented guy."

Chase Elliott hasn't changed his focus or his goals - he still plans to win as much as possible with JR Motorsports. He's not ready to talk about a move up to Sprint Cup - JR Motorsports is partly owned by NASCAR mogul Rick Hendrick - preferring to improve at this level before taking the next step.

It's a sound strategy, endorsed by the Elliott family.

"It's like I told Chase, `Enjoy it while you can because it's just going to be a revolving door,'" Bill Elliott said. "I think that teaches us so much about everyday life."

His son agreed with that assessment.

"I just want to do my job right and do it to the best of my ability and everything else will figure itself out," Chase said.

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glennybob88 April 12 2014 at 4:52 PM

bill?!?!...a Chevrolet & napa....oh my goodness

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1 reply
michaelnel4449 glennybob88 April 12 2014 at 5:38 PM

Like Payton Manning showed everyone, you don't have to take the exact same footsteps that your dad did to become a success....

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modfather910 April 13 2014 at 1:13 AM

Monday he was back in high school, cool young man, congrats

Flag Reply +4 rate up
mousenards April 13 2014 at 1:37 AM


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champ3x7 April 13 2014 at 2:05 AM

I've been saying for quite some time now, this kid's going to be the next Jeff Gordon.......and that's saying a BUNCH. He's well-mannered, articulate and polite. he's got more talent in his pinky than most other drivers out there. He WILL win multiple Sprint Cups in his career and be remembered as one of THE greats of all time when it's over. Mark my words: This kid has all the tools........and THEN some.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
champ3x7 April 13 2014 at 2:12 AM

By the way, NASCAR won't publicly admit this...........but the sport NEEDS Chase Elliott. Ponder this: Dale, Jr. is, by far, the most popular driver. there are many starts, but, none of them, individually, can carry the popularity of the sport on his back alone. Kyle Busch? Nope. too polarizing. Jimmie Johnson, the winner of 6 Sprint Cups? Nope. To perfect for the "every man" and a California native, not from the South and doesn't come from the racing lineage that Junior does. Only Junior can currently do that......but he's 40-years-old. He won't be around forever and when he leaves, NASCAR will need that stratospheric personality to fill the void. That personality will come in the form of Chase Elliott. I've been a fan for better than 30 years and I can say this with absolute confidence. God willing, he stays healthy.......and this prediction will come true.

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1 reply
Tim champ3x7 April 13 2014 at 7:28 AM

Jr. is a Jerk...and is no way the most popular driver...NO EFFIN WAY

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2 replies
Ric Tim April 13 2014 at 8:10 AM

Like it or not..based on merchandise sales,endorsements,ect.....Jr. is the most popular driver.

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grr8gto67 Tim April 13 2014 at 9:18 AM

Tim you have your opinion but it's for sure it is wrong.

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lthrnck68 April 13 2014 at 7:33 AM

Good for him. I hope his success continues. NASCAR needs some major re-tooling. A fresh, young driver like this will be a step in the right direction.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
krs April 13 2014 at 8:29 AM

He has two more wins in 7 Nationwide races than Danica had in 61. He will win multiple
Cup races when he graduates while Dsanics will have none AND THEY still will be
writing about superstar Danica.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
jamestaylor1031 April 13 2014 at 9:09 AM

Being from Georgia ( and soon to be again ! ) my family and I had always been huge fans of Awesome Bill from Dawsonville. Since Bill retired from full time NACCAR racing we had kinda " drifted " from this driver or that driver .. never however having the same joy & passion we had rooting for Bill Elliott .. We having been watching and following Chase Elliott for some time now .. always hoping ... But never, not in a million years could we have forseen this spectactular rise of Chase Elliott .. He is an incredibly exciting driver to watch .. I will tell you folks one thing .. before we move back to Georgia where my two boys and their families still live, we will be at Dover to buy up every single Chase Elliott souvenir that we can afford .. It will be so much fun wearing another Elliott shirt again !

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grr8gto67 April 13 2014 at 9:16 AM

He is the real deal. No question. He has the help of his father plus the mentoring that will come from Rick Hendrick. Danica may be good for the sport and the hoopla that goes with her presence, But at no time during her NASCAR career will she win at any level. She just doesn't get it. Good Luck Chase Looking forward to watching you career.

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spuddoo April 13 2014 at 9:17 AM

very yrue tim

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