Bill Elliott: “I really think Martinsville last Fall kinda defined him as a person.”
He’s finally done it.
Chase Elliott has won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. 99 races into his career, Elliott has picked up the 250th win for Hendrick Motorsports.
After eight runner-up finishes, he parked it at Watkins Glen International on August 5th, 2018. He fended off a last lap challenge from Martin Truex Jr to take the win.
“Relief would be one way to describe it. I’ve left these races pretty down the past couple years,” Chase Elliott stated from the media center of Watkins Glen International.
“You just have to realize, we’ve run 2nd eight times. One thing I tried to beat in my head is that you don’t run 2nd eight times by luck. Take it for what it is. But, that’s what it is, you just don’t.”
“You have to realize, you were in those positions for a reason. And if you were in them at one point in time, you can get back to them. And learn from whatever prevented you from getting a win.”
“I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple years. I’ve learned a lot racing in general. I felt like at the end of last year I was at the top of my game.”
“I haven’t had the year that we were hoping for. But, the past few weeks have been encouraging. I felt like we’ve been running more like we did last fall. No reason why we can’t do that more often.”
Johnson pushes Elliott to victory lane
On the cool down lap, Chase Elliott ran out of gas. Jimmie Johnson started to drive past Elliott. He then stopped, backed up and pushed Chase back around the track.
“One of the many cool things about today was Jimmie Johnson pushed me back to the front straight away. He’s be a hero of mine for a long time. He’s been a big supporter of mine and a guy I leaned on a lot.”
“He was the first guy at my car after Dover last fall. Then, to have him push me to victory lane today was pretty cool. That’s something I’ll never forget.”
His father Bill Elliott wasn’t just at the track today. Bill was an active team member at the race on Sunday. He played the role of one of the many spotters that Chase had around the 7 turn road course. Bill Elliott worked the bus stop portion of the race track.
The race win comes just one day after his father has announced that he will return to NASCAR race. Bill Elliott is schedule to run a NASCAR Xfinity Series event on August 25th at Road America.
“I really think Martinsville last Fall kinda defined him as a person. He was able to stand his ground. I saw him stand up like he needed to stand up,” father Bill Elliott stated via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Denny Hamlin put the bumper to Chase Elliott in the closing laps at Martinsville Speedway. Elliott went around and collected the fence. After the race, the two exchanged words and fenders on the race track.
Ironically, Chase Elliott raced Denny Hamlin for the lead on lap 1 at Watkins Glen on Sunday.
“He stood up and really became a man that day. Really, his character the last 10 races last Fall… I think he really dug down deep, put in a lot of effort and really got a lot of things out.”
“Granted, we didn’t get to where we needed to be. But, with this happening today, a lot of things have come together.”
It took 99 attempts.
Over the course of his four year career, Elliott has finished second eight times. That was the exact number of runner-up finishes his father Bill had before he claimed his first win at Riverside International.
“It’s kinda weird. You talk about numbers,” Bill Elliott continued from the Watkins Glen media center.
“The #9 car wins the 99th start. I won my first cup race at a road course in Riverside. The only Xfinity race I ever won was right here on a road course. Lo an behold he wins his first race on a road course.”
“You don’t think about these things until after the race. When I was at Darlington in ’85. To win the Winston Million. So, much pressure was on us and so many things were going on that particular day.”
“We were nowhere near winning the race. We were about a 5th or 6th place car. One thing happens, the next thing happens. I ended up racin’ Cale at the end of the day. He breaks a power steering line going into turn 3. Here I am leading the race with a handful of laps to go.”
“Sometimes certain things line up and you can’t ask why.”
Related: Watkins Glen Results