CONCORD, N.C. – From time to time, Chase Elliott can be a little hard on himself.
This month, the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 said one of his biggest goals for 2018 is “just the obvious: try to win a race.”
“He's had a reputation, his company, of winning – winning championships, winning races,” Elliott said of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. “I haven't really done that for him. I'd love to do my part. I don't feel like I have to this point – earn my place, earn my keep there at Hendrick Motorsports.”
But Hendrick himself wasn’t having it.
“I think Chase has more than pulled his weight,” Hendrick insisted. “I think he has done a remarkable job.”
The owner pointed to a rookie season that started with Elliott becoming the youngest ever Daytona 500 pole winner. A season that was the best of any rookie in a decade, featuring 10 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s en route to Rookie of the Year honors.
He noted that Elliott followed up that stellar campaign with a 2017 season that saw him top himself in nearly every statistic, including top-five and top-10 finishes as well as laps led.
Not to mention, Elliott made the playoffs in each of his first two NASCAR Cup Series seasons, making it to the verge of the Championship 4 last year.
“What more can you ask of someone, as competitive as it is?” Hendrick asked. “He has done everything I thought he would do and better.”
And even more than success on the track, the owner has enjoyed watching Elliott grow up before his eyes.
“I can just tell you I love Chase Elliott,” Hendrick said. “From the time he was 13 or 14 and we made a deal for him to end up here, I put more investment and time in him because I saw how special he was. I saw how talented he was, but I saw what a special person he is.”
And he’s just as eager for what’s to come, starting with the 2018 season.
“I have been so impressed with Chase because he can be fast and not put the car in an awkward spot,” he continued. “He’s going to be around a long time. He’s going to win a lot of races, he’s going to win a lot of championships and he’s got a tremendous following, not just because of his dad, but because of the person he is.
“I’m super excited about Chase Elliott.”