The Son of a Country Boy; the Son of a Champion
I consider myself a purist when it comes to racing. I don’t consider myself an expert, but a purist. I like racing how it used to be before it… Umm… let’s just say before it “changed.” People ask me if I don’t like it, why I still watch it. Well last weekend with the Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin ordeal, is why.
To watch a young man who grew up around the sport much like I did, but on a different level; last weekend I watched true honor, sportsmanship, and the heart of a true racer in action.
With so much garbage out there in Cup today, with everything based on the all mighty dollar, it made me smile, what I watched last week. Let’s look back and I will tell you what I saw, from my view.
We have a young man, Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer, Bill Elliott. Yes this young man has been in the best equipment that money could buy since day one, and as a parent, I admit that if I had the money and my son wanted to race, I would do exactly the same thing. The main difference here is this; Bill took his son up the ladder one step at a time; he did not shove him straight into Cup. No, he started in Karts, then the Bandoleros, then the Legends. He made Chase learn, and taught him that you only get to the top with hard work and passion, something lacking in racing today. Step by step he worked his way up the ladder, paying his dues and learning the hard way.
This past year has been a learning year and his talent and skill have shined, putting him in places where it’s been seen. And yes his dad had a hand in it, but if you look back, you haven’t seen Bill Elliott out in the limelight talking about how good his son is, or pushing his son. No, you have seen him standing in the wings, waiting, and watching, and guiding his son up the ladder, taking the same path that Bill took to the title back in 1988.
Bill Elliott was just a country boy from north Georgia who loved racing and worked his way up the ladder, one step at a time, at first on a shoe string budget with little money but lots of heart. His efforts were seen by Harry Melling, and in 1981 Harry Melling bought out George Elliott’s race team, putting Melling Racing on the map with Bill Elliott at the wheel. It was a huge break for the young Georgia driver, as it was the start to a racing career that led him to the NASCAR Hall of fame.
Now fast forward to today. We see a young man who has worked his way up, racing since the age of 5 and winning in every class or division he entered, guided by the hand of a man who knew the value of hard work, and knew that to win, you must first lose. And here we have Chase…
All the work Bill has put into his son’s career was shining last weekend on the back straight at Martinsville, and on pit road in front of the camera. It can be summed up in one word… CLASS. Just mere laps from his first win, he is dumped by a driver who don’t know the meaning of hard work. Everything has been handed to Denny Hamlin in his career, and the way he was guided and taught to race showed in his actions and his comments last weekend. Using 3 different excuses as to why he dumped Chase shows he knew he was wrong, and he was grasping at straws to give a reason for his actions. But meanwhile Chase, who clearly was upset and knowing he got shafted, kept his calm and explained his side on the back straight. He didn’t jump out wanting to fight and act like an ass. No, he showed class in his actions. And when the camera was in his face he showed even more class with his comment, “I have been taught if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything…”
His day will come. The wins are not far off. His talent and ability to drive a race car are shining brightly, and he will prove that hard work and passion still exist in the world of racing today. That’s giving me hope that real true racing can still be seen and it won’t be long until we see that famous Elliott smile in victory lane. Let’s see, Texas has been good to Chase, even when they make him start in the rear… but that is a topic for another story….
(To those of you who have liked my ramblings and the opinions I have written, I want to say I am sorry for the delay; I fell victim to a hard drive crash and lost countless stories and stuff I have been working on, BUT fear not; the stories will come. They are still stored in MY hard drive in my hard head! I am back on track now and will be sharing some of these in the very near future! Thank you for reading…”the dr.”)