Bill Elliott’s 14-year-old son Chase has been in the spotlight most of his young career.
But this weekend, he achieved another milestone, that of the youngest winner of the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
This was the second of five of the Blizzard Series features. The Series finale will be in December when Five Flags hosts the 42nd annual Snowball Derby, one of the most prestigious short track races.
“I was going to be happy that we ran so well tonight regardless,” Elliott said. “That was what was important to me because come Derby time that’s what’s going to matter.”
Elliott’s father, “Awesome” Bill spotted for his young, up and coming driver. Of his son’s performance, father Bill said simply, “He did a great job.”
Elliott had a good car from the minute he hit the track. He qualified in the fourth position and started off fast in the Papa John 100.
Before the first lap was in the books, Elliott had already passed Mike Garvey for the third position. On lap 42, Elliott passed Johanna Long for the second spot and honed in on race leader Bubba Pollard.
Two laps later, Elliott made the pass to take the lead, promptly stretching it out to over ten car lengths. Unfortunately, the caution flag flew on lap 72, and Elliott had to lead the field to pit road.
There, things became problematic for the youngster. He had a bit of trouble in the pits, causing him to come out third behind Long and another driver Josh Hamner.
But the troubles just serve to fire Elliott up. “When you come in with the lead and go out third, you definitely come out focused,” Elliott said.
Elliott raced the second place driver and defending Blizzard champion Johanna Long hard and on lap 81, she got sideways and Chase took advantage to make the pass.
Elliott then set his sights on the leader Hamner and pushed him out of the way on lap 86. Elliott led the remainder of the 100 laps to take the checkered flag.
“This is an awesome feeling to win a race here in Pensacola,” Elliott said. “We ran well here last time, and I spun my tires on the last restart. I am just really proud of how much improvement we have made since our first race here last year.”
Elliott currently has an average finish of 3.86 in his 14 starts this season. The young racer is participating in seven different touring series this year.
Chase Elliott fared much better than Papa Bill, who drove the famed No. 21 for the Wood Brothers at the Coca Cola 600. “Awesome” Bill finished in the 27th position in the NASCAR Cup Series longest race of the season.