For 'Awesome' Bill Elliott, family is the tie that binds on and off the race track, especially since son Chase is following right on his father's heels as one of NASCAR's rising stars.
But when father and son are racing in two different parts of the country, technology, in addition to the racing, becomes the tie that keeps the family bonds intact.
While Bill Elliott was driving the No. 21 Wood Brother's Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the Cup Series, Chase was driving the Aaron's No. 9 Dream Machine at the South Alabama Speedway.
Yet technology bound them together and made it possible for both father and son to keep track of each other's performance on the track.
Dad Elliott had undoubtedly the most difficult race weekend, with a disappointing qualifying effort. Elliott was, however, able to bring his car home in 16th position after avoiding the green-white-checkered wreck fest and managing his tire wear.
Son Chase also had plenty of tire wear to deal with but he had a bit of a better day than his father. Young Elliott qualified in the fifth position for his race, The Rattler 250, and ended up advancing his position by one to finish fourth.
In spite of the distance between father and son on their race days, technology kept them bound together as a family. Bill's wife and Chase's mom Cindy kept the text messages going between both race venues.
Mrs. Elliott, who was with son Chase, regularly texted updates about Chase to Eddie Wood, the co-owner of Bill Elliott's team. Wood then relayed the updates to Bill out on the track and subsequently texted Cindy the updates on her husband's performance.
Co-owner Wood was most understanding of the need for the constant text messaging, sharing that he had been in the same position being at a Cup race while his son Jon was on a track in some other part of the country.
"I know from my own experience that it's a relief to know what's going on," Wood said. He also acknowledged that Elliott was able to focus more on his own race knowing that his son was doing well in his competition.
Elliott also said that he was motivated by the regular updates via the technology about his son's performance. "When Eddie told me Chase was leading the race with 50 laps to go, I couldn't believe it," Elliott said. "His team is really coming together."
On the flip side, Chase was consumed with his father's performance until it was his turn to take the green flag. "I just didn't want to leave anything on the table," the young Elliott said.
Chase's crew chief Ricky Turner praised his young driver for not only keeping up with his dad's progress but also maintaining his focus on his own job on the track.
"Chase got a lot of good experience," Turner said. "He led some laps among some great racers and took a car that was not a fourth-place car and finished fourth."
Both father and son were able to share their accomplishments again via technology. Ironically, Chase's fourth place accomplishment puts him on par with some of the other elite Rattler veterans, like Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip, who just happen to be in a similar league as Papa Bill.
But for this one weekend, veteran racer Bill Elliott and protege Chase Elliott were bound not only by their family ties, in addition to their racing passion. They were also integrally bound by technology and the many updates that came via the quick texting fingers of mom and wife Cindy.