Driver Chase Elliott stops by Riebes Auto Parts in Grass Valley
Chase Elliott Bio
Home state: Georgia
Title sponsor: NAPA
Car: No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro
Team: JR Motorsports
Famous family: Father is NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott
2014 Nationwide Series Champion
2014 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
2014 Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver
Xfinity Series driver Chase Elliott doesn’t make it to Northern California very often, but when he does, he draws a crowd.
“We only come out here once a year to California,” said the 19-year old Georgia native and son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott. “It’s just a different part of the world that we don’t see a lot.”
But, with the next race on the Xfinity Series schedule taking him to Fontana, the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion pulled into Riebes Auto Parts in Grass Valley Thursday afternoon to shake hands and sign autographs for local fans.
“It’s very cool, It doesn’t ever get normal by any means, but it’s fun,” Elliott said of the fanfare he receives at the many public appearances he makes. “We just try to enjoy it, enjoy the racing and I’’m fortunate to be able to do this for a living.”
Riebes owner Bart Riebe said Elliott is a great ambassador for the sport of racing and was proud to have him stop by the store.
“Chase Elliott is a guy that is young, very accomplished and is a good example of what you can do with your life if you put your mind to it,” Riebe said. “He’s the son of Bill Elliott and of course that doesn’t hurt. But, Chase is really a self-made kid. Having him be a part of our community today sends a message to everybody that if you put your mind to it, you can do it.”
Before Elliott met with the general public, there was an hour-long meet and greet with local clubs and city officials, including several members of law enforcement, members from the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, a handful of Nevada Union cheerleaders, Bear River and Nevada Union FFA members and Grass Valley city council member Ben Aguilar.
For one senior cheerleader the experience was a special one.
“That was really, really cool,” said Taylor Stafford, a longtime NASCAR fan and NU cheerleader. “I’ve never been able to meet someone that is famous, and it was really fun.”
Stafford said that having a young, rising star in the world of racing visit Grass Valley will open some eyes to the sport.
“I think that it will make more people watch NASCAR, get to learn about it and it helps bring awareness to what it is,” she said.
So far this racing season, Elliott has two top-five finishes, and three top-10 finishes through four races in the Xfinity Series, and currently sits in fourth place in the Xfinity standings.
“It’s had its up and downs so far,” Elliott said of his racing season. “I got in a wreck at Daytona and that set us back a little bit, but it’s such a long year. Daytona is what it is and you can kind of expect anything to happen. That’s just the way that race is. In Atlanta, we had a solid run. In Vegas we were a little off, but in Phoenix last weekend I felt we were back and I felt we were really close. I felt really good about our performance last week. Hopefully we can keep improving and have a better run this week at Fontana.”
Despite being named the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Rookie of the Year and being tabbed as one of the top young racers in the nation, Elliott said he knows there is still a lot of work to do before he puts himself in a class with NASCAR’s best.
“I think I have a lot of room for improvement and I see guys that out drive me on a regular basis,” he said. “It makes me want to step up and do my job better. I know the guys that win races don’t have any nicer cars than I do. So, at the end of the day it comes down to what driver gets it done.”
Earlier this year it was announced that Elliott would be the heir apparent to the No. 24 car, which Jeff Gordon will be vacating when he retires at the end of 2015. But, Elliott said he doesn’t let the pressure get to him and tries to focus on the road directly in front of him.
“It is what it is,” he said. “You always want to go out and do the best you can and that’s all you can ask for. I try not to make anything more complex than it has to be. It’s very exciting opportunity and it’s one that I’ve always wanted to do, but at the same time you don’t want to let it overrule the fact that you got to go out there and do your job and take care of the task at hand.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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