This is the stuff from which legends are made twice.
Dawsonvilles NASCAR driver, Chase Elliott, posted his second consecutive Nationwide Series victory Friday nightat Darlington Speedway in Darlington, S.C. And he did so under circumstances racing fans will talk about for years.
Elliott maneuvered from sixth to first during a frantic green-white-checkered finish with two laps to go. He completed a daring, perfectly executed last lap pass under Elliott Sadler, on the backstretch, to secure a win Elliott himself called a dream come true.
I couldnt believe it, he said at Darlingtons Victory Row. Darlington is probably my favorite track to watch races as a fan and to come here and win this thing, its a feeling Ill never forget.
Michael Hill, a former member of Bill Elliotts crew team, wont forget it either.
Chase deserved that win, Hill said after finishing lunch at the historic Dawsonville Pool Room on Monday. He proved it on the track. Hes one top-notch driver -- how he handles the car -- hes the best laid-back driver Ive ever seen.
Hill, 69, served as gas man or jack man for nine years under Chase Elliots father, Bill. In 1982, during Hills tenure, Elliotts crew team was named Pit Crew Champions.
He knows the Darlington track as well as anyone.
Coming out of turn four, the wall turns back onto the track, he said. Thats where drivers get their Darlington stripe because almost all cars bump it. If you check the cars, they probably all have some damage.
Elliott was the dominant driver of the evening, leading 52 of 147 laps, second only to Kyle Busch, who led 84 in the waning moments of sunset. A series of slow pit stops, however, cost Elliott chunks of track position and forced him to restart for the final time on the outside of the third row.
Showing the raw talent that has made him NASCARs undisputed top prospect, Elliott manhandled the field on one of the toughest tracks on the schedule in just his first visit to the egg-shaped superspeedway. In only seven starts, Elliott has earned two victories, three top-5s and six top-10s to begin his magical debut season in the Nationwide Series.
Sadler and Kyle Larson took two tires on the final pit stop to gain track position over the rest of the leaders, who took four, but Elliott carried way too much momentum on the outside to make a difference.
It was crazy, Elliott said. The last restart was crazy. I didnt know what to expect starting sixth. I knew the guys on two tires were going to be a little slower than those on four. It happened to work out.
(Sadler) got a little loose in two and gave me the outside, and thats where I wanted to be anyway.
Tires made a big difference.
I was so glad his car stuck (to the track) instead of turning loose and taking them both out, Hill said, referring to Elliott Sadlers momentarily slip that gave Chase Elliott one incredibly lucky break.
And Elliott knows not to take wins for granted.
We gotta enjoy it like Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) said. You never take for granted how many youre going to get or when youre going to get another one, he said. We gotta make the most of each of them, and try to keep improving.
Hill agreed wholeheartedly.
Leonard Wood once told me that as his team was climbing the ladder of fame; they stepped on a lot of people and crawled over others, he said. But then things changed. And on the way back down the ladder, they had to shake hands with those folks. Being humble and being grounded is how the Elliotts are.
Wood is a former NASCAR crew chief, engine builder, and co-founder of Wood Brothers Racing. Considered the innovator of the modern pit stop, Woods team is recognized as the first to record a 25-second, four tire pit stop.
In keeping with tradition, Hill added, the Elliotts had their victory meal at a fast-food restaurant.
Bill did the same thing. He never really changed from the time he started until he stopped racing, he said. The Elliotts are a good, solid family.
With the accomplishment, Elliott has become the youngest driver to win twice on the Nationwide Series and the youngest to ever lead the championship standings. He assumed the spot after winning at Texas last weekend and extended it to 13 after his triumph in South Carolina.
With all the record and fast success, should Elliott be fast-tracked to the Sprint Cup Series -- the premiere tour in NASCAR?
Not so fast, says Earnhardt Jr., his JR Motorsports team owner, who called Elliott The New Elvis during the post-race press conference for his following and success.
Earnhardt wants to see the rookie graduate high school before graduating to the Cup Series.
We havent had those conversations yet, Earnhardt said of Elliotts potential Cup debut. I dont think he needs to be focusing on that sort of thing right now, but those decisions are often made by those who are spending a lot of money, and that aint me.
But I do think two years of Nationwide is the best for a driver.
For the time being, Elliott isnt worried about it either, choosing to focus purely on the now and present.
I dont think about it, Elliott said after the race. I just want to do the best job that I can and do what Im supposed to do everything else will take care of itself.
Meanwhile at the Dawsonville Pool Room, owner Gordon Pirkle Jr., G.P., was elated.
When the caution flag came out, we was hoping hed come in somewhere in the top five, G.P. said. But then when he started passing Sadler, everybody jumped up out of their seats. I screamed and hollered and said, Im going to the Pool Room to fire up the siren.
Racing fans in Dawsonville are starting to get used to the noise.
And theyre surely loving it.