While NASCAR Nationwide champion Kyle Busch took home the trophy for this year's running of the 42nd annual Snowball Derby, Chase Elliott, the recently-turned 14 year old son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott, scored an impressive top ten finish.
Elliott finished seventh in the No. 9 Aaron's Dream Machine Ford in his debut at the Derby, often described as the winter, short-track version of the Daytona 500.
Elliott qualified in the 10th position, ran well the entire race and rounded out his season with his excellent top-ten run.
His father assisted in the effort by taking his usual spot on his son's spotter stand. "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville", as Elliott is nicknamed, assisted his son in weaving his way through the competition, which included not only the "locals" in the race but others like Johanna Long, one of the sport's up and coming female drivers.
Elliott was not the only second generation driver in the field. Rusty Wallace's son Steve, a Nationwide racer himself, took part and finished in the third position. Matt Kenseth's son Ross also participated in the festivities, taking the checkered flag in the 12th spot.
"The competition was tremendous," Chase Elliott said. "I learned so much this past week just being here, not to mention actually racing against these guys."
"Any one of them in the entire field was more than capable of winning," Elliott continued. "I am just thankful that the Aaron's team was able to be a part of it all."
Prior to the Snowball Derby, Elliott also ran in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100. Elliott started 15th in this Pro Late Model prelude to the Derby, surviving multiple wrecks to salvage a 12th place finish in that race.
Elliott's performance in the Five Flags Speedway double header capped off a most successful rookie year. Elliott has scored four wins, 13 top-five finishes, and 24 top-10 finishes in 31 Pro and Super Late Model starts in 2009.
Elliott also was the youngest winner of a sanctioned Late Model race at Lanier, as well as being the youngest winner in the Georgia Asphalt Series (GAS). Elliott won the 2009 GAS championship and the Rookie of the Year in that Series.
With a successful 2009 season in his rear view mirror, Elliott is looking forward to 2010. "I still have a lot of learn about the cars, which will make me better at communicating with Ricky (Turner), my crew chief, about adjustments at the track" Elliott said. "Our pit crew plans to start training aggressively as well."
"We've already decided that we have our work cut out for us next year," Elliott continued. "We need to take this Aaron's team to the next level and we will start now working towards that goal."