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SI High School Player of the Week - Auto Racing

April 28, 2011

Chase Elliott




King's Ridge Christian


Dawsonville, Ga.







Season Highlights:

The son of celebrated NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, Chase is making his own name. In 40 starts in 2010, he had 12 victories and 38 top 10 finishes. So far this year he has two top 10 finishes.

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Posted: Thursday April 28, 2011 1:38PM ; Updated: Tuesday May 24, 2011 12:35PM

Chase Elliott follows path of race car driver father

By Ben Glicksman, SI.com

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Perhaps more than any other sport, racing is a family affair. It's a rite of passage of sorts, with a son's career behind the wheel seemingly cementing his father's legacy. There's Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ned and Dale Jarrett. Lee, Richard and Kyle Petty. The list goes on and on.

Now, there's a new duo in that exclusive father-son circle: Bill and Chase Elliott.

"It's been a lot of help for me to go to races and be around the crew," said Chase. "[My dad] being there and being able to point things out as we go along helps the most."

Just a freshman in high school, Chase Elliott is already something of a racing wunderkind. He's shown glimpses of greatness in both short and long events, mirroring his dad's record of multitrack success. He's learned from the legend, a process that began at a very early age.

Take his upbringing, for example. While most kids were playing video games, Chase was at the racetrack. He watched as his father cruised to victories at Daytona, Talladega and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, earning NASCAR's most popular driver title a remarkable 16 times. He witnessed his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame and how he galvanized an ardent fan base. More importantly, he picked up many tricks of the trade, tools he'd later use to dust the competition in his own racing endeavors.

To wit: Elliott totaled 12 victories and 38 Top 10 finishes in 40 starts last year, an absurd feat for anyone, let alone a 15-year-old just three years into his racing career. He was named the Blizzard Series, Miller Lite and Gulf Coast Champion at season's end and awarded the Georgia Asphalt Pro Late Model Series Rookie of the Year. Most memorably, he captured the storied Winchester 400 in October.

"Mark Martin and guys like that have won that race," he said. "That was something that I thought was really cool, to stick around and be there at the end."

His success hasn't gone unnoticed. In February, Hendrick Motorsports -- the renowned team of Earnhardt Jr., Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon -- signed Elliott to a three-year developmental contract. He's been anointed as the next in their superstar lineage.

"It's huge for me," he said of the deal. "That's probably the biggest thing that's happened in my career so far."

If his past performances are any indication, it's also likely only the beginning. Elliott has already notched a top-10 finish in the K&N Pro Series East in 2011, with upcoming events at Richmond, New Hampshire and Dover. That's where he'll look to maintain his winning ways, continue his rapid ascent into racing's spotlight.

Like his father, he also plans to leave a lasting impression on the sport.

"Hopefully one day I'll be driving in the Sprint Cup Series," he said. "Whatever it takes to get there, I'm gonna work hard."

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