Here’s Where NASCAR Star Chase Elliott Got His “Drive”
If anyone was born to race, it was Chase Elliott. His father, Bill, won the 1988 Winston Cup Series, achieved the fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR history, and was voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver so many times (16) that he eventually withdrew his name from consideration. Chase seems poised to eclipse his father; in his first full season, the younger Elliott has qualified for the coincidentally-named Chase for the Sprint Cup (NASCAR’s playoffs) with 12 top-ten and seven top-five finishes. The probable Rookie of the Year is an intense competitor and likely future champion, whose already impressive resume belies his young age.
Otherwise, Eliott seems, in many regards, to be a typical 20 year-old: he’s passionate about the Atlanta Braves (going so far as to have his helmets painted with Braves insignias), enjoys mountain biking and days on the lake, and (perhaps more unusually) flying airplanes. Despite the near-certainty of future championships, Elliott is soft-spoken and humble.
As the behind-the-scenes video releases of the making of his Off Road Capture the Flag, we interviewed the champ about racing and whether or not he considers it creative.
RACING IS THE ONLY THING HE’S EVER WANTED TO DO
When you’re little, you don’t necessarily know what you wanna do and what you wanna pursue. I’ve always had a lot of interest in racing, and I’ve never really wanted to do anything else. When you start racing and getting older, you start spending time away from home and missing out on school and activities that your friends are doing–whether or not you’re okay with that is one of the things you go through and recognize that you need to commit to missing. I never lost interest in racing because of that stuff.
…BUT HIS PARENTS NEVER PRESSURED HIM INTO IT
There was never any pressure to go race. They were alway really cool about letting me do what I wanted to do. They always left the decision up to me. I was pretty fortunate about that. I’ve been lucky to do what I wanted to do, and have a lot of great opportunities to learn and race along the way. I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing.
THE DANGERS OF RACING ARE EVER-PRESENT
Going 200 miles-per-hour is a rush, and there’s a lot of challenges that come with it. You have to take that into account; there’s the competition side that sometimes outweighs the going fast part. The competitive side of racing tends to take over. You probably don’t ever 100-percent get used to going that fast.
[Crashing] is not fun. It’s definitely not a good feeling. From a safety standpoint, it’s something you can prepare for–making sure you’re comfortable in the car makes a big difference–and the more comfortable you are in those seats and your helmet and the safety device the better chance they have of doing their job.
HE DOESN’T LET OTHERS DEFINE HIS STYLE.
[My racing style] is for others to decide. I just go about my business as I see fit, and whether it’s right, wrong, or different, I’m not sure. That’s for everybody else to think about and judge.
DOES HE CONSIDER RACING CREATIVE?
I think it … Well, I don’t know [laughs]. I think racing is creative in some ways, especially the technical side. We’re always trying new things and new technology, and trying to make these cars faster, so definitely there’s a lot of creativity from that front. From the driving side, there is some there, but I think, yeah, some of it is trying not to reinvent the wheel too much.