CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott helped a young NASCAR fan’s dream come true when he and crew chief Alan Gustafson surprised him with a special gift at Hendrick Motorsports’ campus.
Through the Dream on 3 program, 15-year-old Peyton was able to meet his hero and was given the No. 9 UniFirst car hood that ran at Phoenix Raceway a couple of weeks ago. Elliott and Gustafson signed the hood and spent time with Peyton and his family while showing them around campus.
“I’m super glad he can take something that special and memorable home with him,” Elliott said. “He really liked that car, the UniFirst car, from Phoenix, so Alan offered it up.”
Peyton is living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder diagnosed in young children that causes muscle weakness and degeneration. The disorder eventually affects the heart and respiratory organs, as well.
“I feel like he’s just a regular kid,” Elliott said. “He, just like anybody, is taking the highs out of today and asking questions. He’s very sharp in his thoughts. He knows his racing, which is really cool. He’s in good spirits and is excited to be here like a lot of people would be. It was refreshing to see him pushing and taking the positives out of the day.”
The No. 9 teammates, Peyton and his family spent time in the team garage where Peyton had a first-hand account of the work that goes into the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets. Elliott said he was proud of the impact he could have on Peyton and that it was an honor to spend time with him.
“He's a young man who is in a tough position and (his) family is going through a lot,” Elliott said. “If you can just make five minutes of their day for somebody who’s facing something like he is, I feel like is worth every minute of my time.
“I’m glad we could make it happen and I’m glad we could host Peyton and his family.”