CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott will hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday with the goal of crossing the finish line first and moving on to the Championship 4 while supporting a very important cause.
The 24-year-old driver will be bringing back the No. 9 Hooters Give a Hoot scheme that to support breast cancer awareness. The cause is close to the Dawsonville, Georgia, native’s heart.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to use my platform and raise awareness,” Elliott said. “My family, like most, has been impacted with breast cancer. My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor for many years and we unfortunately lost her last fall. As time goes on, I think you can try and help or do anything in a small way, which is good.
“I know how it has impacted so many families, as well. I just appreciate Hooters jumping on board and wanting to do something special like this with the black and pink car. It’s going to look really cool running at Texas."
Even though Elliott will be sporting an important cause on Sunday, he said the challenges at Texas aren’t lost upon him, especially since the NASCAR Cup Series drivers all have had to adjust their techniques since the track was repaved in 2017. He got into a groove at the 1.5-mile venue before the repave, but said the updated asphalt has made racing there a little tougher.
“Texas is just a different animal since the repave and I feel like we had some great runs there,” Elliott said. “I loved going to Texas before they repaved it and just felt like I had a nice feel of the racetrack and I knew what I wanted. It’s an important track to have a good performance at that can propel you to a potential final four run. Those types of struggles at a track like that where it falls in the playoffs is not ideal, so I hope we can get a little better out there.”
Elliott finished 12th at the track over the summer but hasn’t had a top-10 finish at the venue since November 2018. However, Elliott has had a stellar season at 1.5-mile tracks. In 10 1.5-mile races in 2020, Elliott won at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28 and has two runner-up finishes. He is also tied for the most stage wins in the NASCAR Cup Series at 1.5-mile tracks with four, has led the third-most laps (310) and has collected the fourth-most points (376).
"We’re just trying to build on what we’ve been working on over the past few years," Elliott said of making it to the Championship 4. "I feel like every year we’ve been close; we just haven’t been able to get over that hump and really assert ourselves among that top group. I feel like we’ve been right there. I feel like we’re very capable of it. Just those little inconsistencies and some bad racetracks have been our biggest problems.
"We’re trying to be a little more consistent everywhere and eliminate bad tracks. You can’t have bad tracks at this level, and the guys who win often and win all the time and run well don’t have any bad tracks. So, it’s certainly possible and that’s just where we have to get to. The reality is that’s the only way to contend with them and I think we’re capable of doing it."
Elliott and the No. 9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will start in fourth place for Sunday’s race at Texas. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.