On Sunday afternoon, 24-year-old Chase Elliott claimed his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship during the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. As someone who grew up and learned while racing on the short tracks of America, his triumph was a popular one among those in the short track racing community.
Today, in honor of Elliott’s championship, our staff at Speed51 grabbed a few shovels and dug through the archives to find some of Elliott’s most memorable achievement at the short track level.
May 9, 2009
At the age of 13 years old, Elliott scored his first career Late Model victory during a Georgia Asphalt Series (GAS) race at Lanier Raceplex in his home state of Georgia. The victory came in just his seventh career Late Model start, and Elliott had to pass recent All American 400 Casey Roderick to score the victory. Just like it did Sunday night when he became a NASCAR Cup Series champion, the Dawsonville Pool Room sounded the siren through the streets of Dawsonville that night.
Read the full story on Elliott’s first career Late Model win by clicking here.
May 28, 2010
Over one year later at the age of 14 years old, Elliott captured his first career Blizzard Series victory at Five Flags Speedway. In doing so, he became the youngest driver to ever win a Blizzard Series race at the historic Pensacola, Florida race track. At the time, the victory was the biggest victory of Elliott’s young career. His win that night came over a stout field that included the likes of veteran Super Late Model drivers Bubba Pollard and Augie Grill.
Read the full story on Elliott’s first career Blizzard series win by clicking here.
October 17, 2010
Elliott entered the 2010 Winchester 400 having finished second at the All American 400, second at the Rowdy 251 and fourth at the Rattler 250. Having always been a bridesmaid in the extra distances races, Elliott made his way to victory lane by taking the lead from Chuck Barnes, Jr. on lap 357 and held off Johnny VanDoorn on the final set of restarts to capture the famed Winchester rifle trophy.
December 4, 2010
Stars are born in December at Five Flags Speedway. And while Chase Elliott didn’t win the Snowball Derby in 2010, he made an impression with those in attendance for the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race. After laying down the second fastest lap in qualifying, Elliott’s car was disqualified in post-qualifying inspection and he was sent to a last chance race.
At 15 years old, Elliott drove from his ninth starting position to win the last chance race and line up 31st for the Snowflake 100. But he wasn’t done there, the Georgia young gun blazed through the field in 86 laps to take the lead from Bubba Pollard and win one of the biggest Pro Late Model races in the country.
Read the full story on Elliott’s eventful Snowflake 100 win by clicking here.
December 4, 2011
The dramatic finish to the 2011 Snowball Derby will go down in history as one of the best finishes ever in Super Late Model racing. On the race’s final restart, DJ VanderLey, with fresher tires, pulled even with Elliott on the outside and battled door-to-door with the Georgia driver. VanderLey led at the stripe by inches each time by in the closing laps, until the final one. VanderLey lost grip, which gave Elliott the the lead and his first Tom Dawson Trophy.
May 19, 2012
While continuing to compete in Late Model races throughout the country, Elliott’s primary focus shifted to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (now ARCA Menards Series East) in 2011. After going winless in his rookie season, Elliott broke through and scored his first career NASCAR victory during a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway. Elliott was followed across the finish line that day by his good friend and current NASCAR Cup Series competitor Ryan Blaney.
Read more on Elliott’s first NASCAR victory by clicking here.
July 4, 2012
On Independence Day, Elliott turned in one of the most dominating performances ever in a World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park. Elliott sat on the pole and led 196 laps en route to winning all three segments to capture the $20,000 prize. Elliott was only the second driver to win from the pole and first since Fredrick Moore accomplished the feat in 2004.
November 2, 2013
It was on this day that Elliott cemented himself as one of the best Super Late Model racers of all-time. Although he may not have the quantity of wins that others have, he accomplished a feat that has never been matched. With an All American 400 victory at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Elliott became the first driver to win four of Super Late Model racing’s crown jewel events: the Snowball Derby, All American 400, Winchester 400 and World Crown 400.
Read more on Elliott’s Super Late Model grand slam by clicking here.
December 6, 2015
Elliott made his highly-anticipated return to the Snowball Derby in 2015, one year after becoming a NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. Although he only led three laps that day and didn’t lead the final lap, Elliott was crowned the official winner after current NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell’s disqualification in post-race technical inspection. Elliott’s second Snowball Derby win came two years after he lost a Snowball Derby win in technical inspection due to a tungsten violation in 2013.
Read the full story from Elliott’s second Snowball Derby win by clicking here.
-Story by: Brandon Paul & Elgin Traylor
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com