CONCORD, N.C. – From holding off a hard charge by Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps to having his father Bill Elliott help spot for the No. 9 team and teammate Jimmie Johnson pushing his No. 9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 toward Victory Lane as it ran out of fuel, Chase Elliott’s journey to his first career NASCAR Cup Series win and Hendrick Motorsports’ 250th victory was one the 22-year-old driver will never forget.
Once Elliott finally did get to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen International, another special moment was in store for the young driver. Greeted and cheered by the No. 9 team and his fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammates, several competitors also sought out the driver to congratulate him on the historic win.
And that was after many more drove up beside the No. 9 Chevy on the track to share in the celebration and give a quick thumbs up to Elliott during his victory lap.
“To have all those guys come up there, that did say something,” Elliott said. “It was something I’ll never forget.”
Earning that respect from some of his fiercest competitors made Elliott’s first career Cup Series win even more meaningful.
“To have the respect of your peers is one of the most is one of the most – probably one of the coolest things about what you do if you can earn that respect,” Elliott said. “No one understands what you do on the racetrack more than your peers, and when they know what you do and understand you as a racer and respect that, that’s a pretty cool thing.”
Elliott got even more congratulatory messages after the race on social media, including from some big names in the sports world. Check out the highlights here.