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Chase Elliott is NASCAR's newest champion
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Dawsonville's Chase Elliott is the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

The "si-rene" atop the world-famous Pool Room is screaming through downtown Dawsonville for Chase Elliott

Saturday's season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Raceway wasn't Elliott's career best, but that didn't keep fans and friends watching from The Pool Room and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame from standing up and cheering on Dawsonville's new NASCAR champion.

"It don't matter, he's still the champion," said Shirley Martin. "We're so proud of him."

Even though Elliott clinched the series championship a week earlier at Phoenix, the trophy presentation after Saturday's race drew a crowd to downtown Dawsonville, where Gordon (G.P.) Pirkle, Jr. was waiting to turn on the Pool Room's now world famous "si-rene" to celebrate the championship season win.

"It's exciting, but not as exciting as last week," said Pirkle, who planned to let the "si-rene" roar for as long as the town would let it without complaining.

Fans from far and wide were in town for the race.

"I've always been a Bill Elliott [1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and Chase's father] fan," said Jeff Murrell, who drove from Sarnia Ontario, Canada to live out a dream of watching at the Pool Room in Dawsonville. "This is fantastic. This is something I've wanted to do for years, ever since I saw the 'si-rene' ring for Bill Elliott."

A longtime fan of Elliotts, Gewene Anderson and her husband C.B. spent their 18th wedding anniversary in Dawsonville in order to celebrate Chase Elliott's victorious season.

"This is something I've wanted to do for so long, to come to Dawsonville and watch a race from the Pool Room and hear the 'si-rene' ring," she said. "This has been awesome."

Of course, she had hoped to also be celebrating a win at Homestead, where Chase Elliott ran much of the 200-lap race near the front of the pack.

A run into the wall near the end of the race forced a final pit stop, leading him to finish in the 17th position, and 42 points ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, series runner-up.

The youngest driver and first rookie to win a championship, Elliott said he still had trouble grasping the accomplishment.

"This is a dream come true," he said after the race.

Check out this week's edition of the Dawson Community News for full race coverage.