Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chase Elliott matches expectations by making NASCAR Chase

All eyes were on rookie Sprint Cup driver Chase Elliott before he ever gripped the wheel of the famed No. 24 Chevrolet this year.

As the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and the successor to four-time champion Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports, the shadows of racing legends and fan expectations loomed for the young talent even during his reign as the 2014 Xfinity series champion.

The younger Elliott grew up racing go-karts and late models while watching his father compete in NASCAR-sanctioned events long after Bill's 1988 Cup championship. But for Chase, 20, of Dawsonville, Ga., the realization that the baton had officially been passed didn't set in until he headed to Daytona International Speedway in February.

"I think a lot of it kind of sank in going to Daytona, and heading down to the Daytona 500 to not watch (Bill) race was weird," Chase said. "It was interesting to go through all the same motions, except knowing I wasn't there just to watch."

Chase has lived up to the expectations by becoming one of only three rookies to ever make the Chase for the Championship. He has no wins but nine top-five showings, the most by a rookie since Carl Edwards scored 13 in 2005.

"I think I've been lucky to have some good moments over the racing I've done to this point, and I think a lot of the things we went through have led to the opportunities we have today," Chase said.

Bill Elliott had a knack for winning the biggest races. He visited Victory Lane in the Daytona 500 twice and the Southern 500 three times. Today, Chase Elliott faces perhaps the most important race of his life, the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, the second race in the second phase of the Chase for the Championship.

In the Chase for the Championship, Elliott has led the second-most laps in two of the four races, trailing only six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson both times.

"I'm proud of a lot of moments that we've had," Chase said. "I'm not so proud of some, like anybody else, but I definitely don't like to narrow it down to one thing because it wasn't one thing that made everything happen just in the flip of a switch."

Xfinity: Kyle Busch led 150 of 200 laps in a dominant victory in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, his third consecutive series win at the 11/2-mile track. Elliott Sadler was second and Daniel Suarez third, as both title contenders made a nice start in the three-race round of eight of the second-tier series' inaugural Chase.

NHRA: Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led qualifying for today's Texas Fall Nationals in Ennis

Chase Elliott matches expectations by making NASCAR Chase 10/15/16 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2016 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.