CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott’s NASCAR Cup Series career has gotten off to a successful start by any measure.
As 2016 Rookie of the Year, he had one of the best debut Cup Series seasons in more than a decade, becoming just the second rookie ever to qualify for the playoffs and the first to advance to the Round of 12.
Last year, he became a two-time Daytona 500 pole winner, set new career highs in top-five finishes, top-10s and laps led and earned a playoff berth for the second consecutive season, closing the 2017 campaign fifth in the standings.
But now, as he enters the 2018 season reunited with the number synonymous with his legendary racing family, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 still has one main goal in mind.
“Heck, I think just the obvious: try to win a race,” Elliott said. “Starting year three, I think at this point I ought to know how to do that much at least. Think that I'm capable of doing it. I think we've had the speed and the ability to compete for wins. I think we've shown that on more than one occasion.
“Just a matter of actually doing it.”
As Elliott alluded, he has earned seven runner-up results to this point in his Cup career, and he’s finished third an additional six times. While he has come close, he has yet to capture that first checkered flag.
The driver said he has spoken about it with his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who also accumulated his fair share of second-place finishes before capturing his first win.
In fact, Atlanta Motor Speedway is currently emulating a promotion held by Charlotte Motor Speedway that helped bring good luck to the elder Elliott back in 1983.
To do their part to help him find Victory Lane for the first time, Atlanta is asking fans to send lucky charms to the track, which will be presented to the younger Elliott as part of the “Good Luck, Chase” program.
“I'm fortunate to be in a situation where (Hendrick Motorsports owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick put a lot of trust in me to do well,” Elliott said. “He's had a reputation, his company, of winning – winning championships, winning races. 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.”
With that mindset, Elliott’s eyes are squarely set on Victory Lane. And he’s confident in what the No. 9 team will bring to the table in 2018. “I sound like a broken record, but you’ve just got to go do it,” he said. “We're capable. Just got to make it happen.”