Chase Elliott blogs about his summer at Hendrick Motorsports
- Jun 12, 2012
- Team Hendrick
This summer, I’m learning that sometimes it’s a good thing to be a fish out of water, so to speak. It gives you an opportunity to learn, and that’s really what I’ve spent the first part of my summer doing. This year has been such a fun time, juggling school while running in the late model ranks and the K&N Pro Series East. But it’s been worth it. We won our first K&N Pro Series East event in late May at Iowa Speedway – that was definitely a big confidence booster for me.
But now, with the school year over, I can focus on working with the members of the K&N Pro Series East team at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been an adjustment for sure, but only in terms of learning how the team does things here. Spending time in the shop is nothing new – that was basically my daily pattern living in Dawsonville, Ga. I would leave school and go to the shop to help the team with our late model cars. But now with it being summer, I’ve moved to North Carolina so I can be in this shop all day learning more about the cars we run in the K&N Pro Series. Instead of just showing up on race day to compete, I get to see how they set it up, and I’m thankful for that opportunity.
Things are done differently here at Hendrick Motorsports as just as they would be at any shop across the United States. It’s nothing big – just small things, like where they store their tools. I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to figure out where everything goes. But (crew chief) Lance (McGrew) has his things that he wants done to the car that are specific to him, just as the guys back home do things differently. You’re going to have that anywhere you go. For instance, they bleed the brakes differently here than we do back home. It’s not always something game-changing; it’s just a different approach.
Being in the shop is more than learning about the cars, though. It helps me learn more about the team members who support me each and every weekend. Mr. Hendrick is right when he says it’s about the people – they make the difference. And I tell you, I think I’ve actually got both their names and nicknames straight at this point. Those of you who know about racing know that most of the guys in the shop are known by the nicknames and not their real names. It’s just another fun part of the culture that makes us even more like a family, I think.
The bottom line is everybody is unique, and everybody brings something to the table. These guys have been around racing for a long time in this shop, and their experience is second-to-none. I am blessed to be in this situation, and I never take it for granted.
We have several race dates circled on our calendars, as well as something fun I’m hoping both teams will be able to participate in. We are planning a fishing expedition this Friday, June 15 at Orange Beach in Florida. A friend of our family charters deep sea fishing expeditions, so we’ll go try our hand at that. I’m hoping it will be a good time for our team members to relax and take a quick break. They certainly deserve it.