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Why The Daytona 500 Looms So Large For Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott follows in the footsteps of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer and two-time Daytona 500 winner Bill Elliott, but he ready to tackle whatever challenges come his way.
When you’re the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, plying your trade in the family business always comes with more pressure. The limelight carries a burdensome weight, after all. But for William Clyde Elliott II – better known by his nickname “Chase” – performing well under pressure is a skill, one the Georgia native and 2020 Cup Series Champion has definitively mastered. Still, unlike his legendary father who won the fabled Daytona 500 twice, the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing has remained elusive for Elliott in the No.9 Chevrolet, adding to its mystique for him. His fond memories for The Great American Race date back all the way to his childhood.
“Being a kid as far as the races go, I feel like they all kind of blended together, but they had the best playground at Daytona,” Elliott recalled in a promo for USA Network's “Race For the Championship,” debuting Thursday, Sept. 1 at 10 p.m, ET/PT. “That was always a highlight. They had the best playground around.”
When the nostalgic walk down memory fades into the background, Elliott is back to being laser focused, conveying how important it has always been to him ascend the ranks of NASCAR’s elite drivers through merit, not his name.
“The races are hard to win, so if you can get across that hurdle, it’s something to be proud of and something to enjoy,” Elliott said. “I want to earn my place, and I’ve always felt that way from a young age. I don’t want to do it just because dad did it. I want to earn it.”
And that’s exactly how Elliott views his quest to win The Daytona 500.
“The Daytona 500… It’s a great event, a great spectacle, ton of energy,” Elliott states. “Fans have always shown up for that, and as a driver and a team, that makes your race day a lot more fun. We all want to win it and put our name on that trophy, so for me, I’m no different. “
In 2016, Elliott won the pole in his Daytona 500 debut with a blistering 196.314 miles per hour, and then he repeated by winning the pole again in 2017. Despite those accomplishments, he’s never finished higher than 10th place. He’ll be looking to rectify that by etching his name into the history books next season, but for now, Elliott, who was just crowned the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion, is dialed in with one singular mission: win the Cup Series Playoffs.
After watching them on “Race For The Championship,” Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA Network, you can catch Chase Elliott and all your favorite NASCAR drivers race into the playoffs starting Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway at 6 p.m. ET, also on USA Network. And you can catch up on all the race action on Peacock.