A member of one of stock-car racing’s most storied families and already a second-generation NASCAR champion, Chase Elliott will continue his march in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017 coming off the sport’s most impressive rookie season in the past 10 years – earning 10 top-five finishes en route to a Chase for the NASCAR Cup berth and the 2016 Rookie of the Year title.
A budding NASCAR star, Elliott has been named to Forbes’ “Top 40 Most Social Athletes under 30” and SportsPro’s “World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes,” in both 2015 and 2016, joining UFC champion Ronda Rousey, Olympian Usain Bolt and NBA MVP Stephen Curry. He was voted by fans as ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT” racer and has been featured by Nickelodeon, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times among others.
In 2014, Elliott all but guaranteed his ascension to the top level of the sport by winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series title to become the youngest champion in series history (18 years, 11 months and 18 days). He became the first competitor in any NASCAR national series to win a championship, rookie of the year and most popular driver honors in the same season.
Elliott has followed in the footsteps of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer and 1988 NASCAR Cup champion Bill Elliott, in possessing a natural ability behind the wheel, a tireless work ethic and strong connections with his fans. Bill and Chase are the fifth father-son duo to win NASCAR national series championships, an exclusive list that includes NASCAR’s most iconic names: Petty, Earnhardt, Jarrett and Pearson.
Elliott’s first job was washing dishes. Born and raised in Dawsonville, Georgia, a town steeped in racing history, he worked in the kitchen of the Dawsonville Pool Room at 13 years old. In the 1980s, the owner, Gordon Pirkle, began sounding a siren in celebration of each Bill Elliott victory. That tradition continues today with Chase.
Elliott began racing go karts at 8 years old with a dream of competing at NASCAR’s highest level. In 2011, at age 15, his efforts paid off when he received an after-school phone call from car owner Rick Hendrick, who offered the teenager a contract with 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports.
What followed was a rapid rise through super late models and other national touring divisions in preparation for NASCAR. Elliott is a two-time Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Driver of the Year, capturing titles in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, he became the first driver in history to win all four majors on the super late model circuit: All-American 400, Winchester 400, World-Crown 300, and the Snowball Derby.
At the age of 18, while spending a portion of the year finishing high school, Elliott became, at the time, the youngest champion in any NASCAR national touring series when he won the 2014 XFINITY Series title driving for JR Motorsports, owned by teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. His storybook season included three wins, two pole positions and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 races. Elliott’s first win came at Texas Motor Speedway in only his sixth career start, making him the second-youngest winner in series history.
Prior to his grand entrance into the XFINITY Series, Elliott broke records driving select NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2013, becoming, at the time, the youngest winner in series history in only his sixth start. He transitioned to the Camping World Truck Series after a strong season of firsts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In 2012, he captured his first career NASCAR victory on May 19 when he took the checkered flag in the K&N Pro Series East-West combination event at Iowa Speedway. Elliott followed that performance by becoming the series’ youngest pole winner to date when he took the top qualifying spot at Langley Speedway. At the conclusion of the 14-race season, he was chosen by fans as the K&N Pro Series East most popular driver.
In January 2015, it was announced Elliott would join the NASCAR Cup Series in 2016. In preparation, Elliott drove five points-paying NASCAR Cup Series races for Hendrick Motorsports in 2015 and a second full season for JR Motorsports. Elliott led the XFINITY Series in top-10 finishes en route to his second-place finish in the championship standings and won his second consecutive most popular driver award.
Elliott started his full-time NASCAR Cup Series career with a bang in 2016. On Sunday, Feb. 14, he became the youngest Daytona 500 pole-winner of all time at the age of 20 years, 2 months and 17 days after running 196.314 mph during his final qualifying lap. It became Hendrick Motorsports’ 10th Daytona 500 pole – the series' most – as well as Chevrolet’s 24th Daytona 500 pole award – also the series' most. The Elliotts became the fourth father-son duo to win the Daytona 500 pole, following the Petty, Allison and Earnhardt duos.
After starting the season off strong, Elliott went on to have an equally impressive season earning 10 top-five finishes – the most by a rookie since 2005 – 17 top-10 finishes and two pole positions while leading 358 laps en route to being named the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Elliott even secured a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Cup, marking just the second time in the history of the Chase that a rookie has qualified for the 10-race postseason. The previous occurrence came in 2006. Elliott is the only rookie to advance to the Round of 12 in the postseason.
In addition to his on-track success in 2016, Elliott’s star power led him to be a guest co-host on MTV’s “Ridiculousness” and the young athlete was featured in outlets such as “The Dude Perfect Show,” “Young Hollywood,” ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” Nickelodeon’s “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” “FOX and Friends,” “FOX Sports Live,” “Jeopardy!” and “At The Buzzer,” among others. Elliott even graced the cover of the Forza Motorsport 6 NASCAR Expansion pack and his home state’s Georgia Magazine. Through all of the publicity, the rookie still found time to add on to his private pilot’s license with a multi-instrument rating and is now in the process of training for his helicopter license.
He resides in his hometown of Dawsonville and enjoys snowboarding, wake surfing, flying and pulling for the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Bulldogs.