DOVER, Del. – Chase Elliott had just finished a celebratory burnout Sunday at Dover International Speedway when he climbed out of his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for an interview with NBC Sports.
He was all smiles as he began to answer the first question. Meanwhile, standing at the pit wall was Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.
Elliott spotted him right away.
“That man right there in that white shirt,” he pointed. “He has done so much for me.”
The driver hopped the wall to embrace the team owner and they shared a few words before Elliott climbed back inside the No. 9 Chevy to take it to Victory Lane.
Hendrick wasn’t surprised by what he saw from Elliott as the driver captured the organization’s 251st NASCAR Cup Series win.
“I've seen what I saw today a lot with Chase,” he said. “We just didn't have the car for him early in the year. What I saw him do at Watkins Glen was, I mean, unbelievable against some of the best road racers. Seeing him develop at some of these tracks has been unbelievable.”
As Hendrick Motorsports began to bounce back from a tough start to the season, Hendrick knew it was only a matter of time before Elliott put together days like Sunday and his win at Watkins Glen.
“I think we were behind this year,” the owner said. “We've caught up a little bit, and he's just got an awesome amount of talent.”
Sunday marked Elliott’s second win of the season and the first one for which Hendrick has been in attendance. When Elliott won at Watkins Glen, Hendrick was pacing through a pair of shoes in his living room.
“What a great day for Chase,” Hendrick beamed. “So proud of him. Love the way the fans react to him. Thanks to NAPA and all the guys that have supported us from way back when he was 14 years old. It’s pretty cool.”
Elliott has long said that Hendrick’s support as he rose through the NASCAR ranks has helped lead him to where he is today. On Sunday, that was Victory Lane once again.
“I just love the opportunity that Mr. Hendrick has given me,” Elliott said. “Glad he was able to be here today.”
Hendrick was glad as well. And he continued to be impressed by what the driver of the No. 9 Chevy has been able to do.
“He’s like his dad – he’s really smart, he knows when to race and he’s got unbelievable car control,” Hendrick said. “I’m just very fortunate to have him in our camp.”