Chase Elliott has proven once again that he is in it to win it.
He was at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., last Sunday to compete in the nations most prominent short-track race, The Snowball Derby. Elliott not only won the 300-lap race, he also broke a record by becoming the youngest winner ever, at 16 years old.
It was really cool, said Elliott, of Dawsonville. There were so many good cars who came out, and we felt that this year was our best shot. I knew we could win with this car and race team.
Elliotts team included his crew chief, Ricky Turner, also of Dawsonville. Turner raced the Derby in 2002 and took the victory, beating a five-time winner, Rich Bickle.
Elliott played a role in yet another new record. The time margin between him and second-place winner, 19-year-old D.J. VanderLey, was the closest in Snowball history with a difference of 0.229, less then a quarter of a second.
Recovering from an earlier crash, Elliott maneuvered his car toward the front of the pack, even doing the unthinkablepassing cars on the outside.
On lap 219, Elliott took Casey Smiths second-place position, leaving VanderLey the only contender ahead. But on lap 220, a caution came out and the cars in the front pulled in for a pit. It was a picture-perfect stop for Elliott and the Hendrick Motorsports pit team.
We got in the wreck traffic about halfway through the race, and we came in the pits in third position, Elliott said. The guys worked real hard and got me back out quick enough to put me in the lead.
It was the first time Elliott was leading the pack.
After a late restart, Elliott found himself in a two-wide second for the first four of the final five laps.
What was bad about that is it was an awful start, Elliott said. I was trying to do what I had done before and he got the nose on me, but somehow he never managed to clear me, and I had to work real hard to keep him behind.
Elliott and VanderLey raced their final lap door-to-door, giving fans a show for their money. It was truly a race to be recorded in history.
Some are calling the NASCAR K&N Pro Series runner Twenty-Thousand-Dollar Chase. This is a name bestowed upon him in relation to his famous father, Million Dollar Bill Elliott.
Said Chase, Thats pretty cool, but our goal was not about winning the money; we wanted to win the race.