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Chase Elliott blogs about his 2013 season

2013 has been a year that I will never forget. I am so thankful for the opportunities I had this year and owe it all to everyone who worked on the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet.

We started building momentum after finishing fifth in our first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and really never looked back. We followed up that performance by winning the ARCA Racing Series event at Pocono Raceway on June 8. It was such an amazing experience to go to the same Victory Lane that my Dad did. I mean, I remember watching him celebrate his win there in the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup Series back in 2002, and I never dreamed I would get to experience the same thing.

Looking back, everything just seemed to go right that day at Pocono. (Crew chief) Lance (McGrew) had our car dialed in from the very beginning and did an amazing job putting us in position to get the win. Two more facts made this a special moment I’ll never forget – one, the ARCA win was the first for Lance, a guy who has been a crew chief on every NASCAR level with Hendrick Motorsports; two, I became the youngest superspeedway winner in ARCA’s 61 year history.

To make the win even more special, my entire crew got the opportunity to walk around the Hendrick Motorsports campus and ring the Victory Bell in celebration. It was very cool to get to shake the hands of everyone that works on these cars at Hendrick Motorsports, and it meant the world to me.

Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series also was a privilege, and my goal going into the 2013 year was to run up front and go to Victory Lane. Whether it was at the short track of Martinsville or the high-banks of Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, we felt like we had a chance to win every race we entered. We finished sixth or better in our first six starts this season, but undeniably, the highlight of our Truck season and really my year was our victory at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada. We had a strong truck from the drop of the green flag and battled for the race lead throughout the 64-lap event. It was so much fun running up front with the likes of Ty Dillon and road course racing veteran Max Papis.

In the closing laps, it began to look like the battle for the win would be between Dillon and me. In the end, we were able to take the lead and score the victory. It was such an amazing moment. Pulling into NASCAR Victory Lane and seeing my Dad there waiting for me with a huge smile on his face was something I will never forget. He looked so happy and proud of me. It all really made me look back and just think, ‘wow, I can’t believe we did this!’

Overall, our 2013 season was one full of highlights and memories that will last me for the rest of my life, and I’m very thankful to everybody who played a part in our success.

Now, my focus is on offseason testing. I’m trying to help Hendrick Motorsports’ four teams prepare for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season by running some durability testing. We’re acquiring data for their engineers, but the seat time has been huge for me. Every time I get behind the wheel with these guys I learn something new, and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity.

If you happen to be around Daytona Beach, Fla., this weekend, stop by. We will be doing some ARCA testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) Friday through Sunday at the historic 2.5-mile speedway, and a section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open free to the public. There will be access available through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office for fans.

Hope to see you at the track!

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports driver

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