REPORTER: Chase Elliot, to me, is a God-given talent.
REPORTER: Elliot driving the number 9 that his dad made famous.
REPORTER: Chase getting the opportunity to carry that on, for himself and for that family, I think is a huge, huge moment.
INTERVIEWER: I know it’s a huge year for you taking over that 9 car. Now, when it was announced last year that you were going to be the driver of the car, Rick Hendrick sort of casually mentioned that you had been dropping hints about getting back in that car. What kind of hints were you dropping?
– Yeah, I’d always kind of joked with him about it here and there. I never really expected it to go anywhere. It really came to life, I think through Dale, he really pushed it. And he thought it was a good idea. And I think he expressed that to Mr. Hendrick, and I think that pushed it over the edge.
– How did you find out?
– I think I found out the day before. I mean, it was just that quick. I mean, I had no clue they were even discussing it. Because for Rick to go away from the number 5, anyway, because that was his first win in cup with that number, I wouldn’t know which number he would give up anyway. But looking back on it, I just didn’t think it would ever happen.
REPORTER: Chase Elliot goes sliding. Oh no! Disappointing, so many high hopes.
INTERVIEWER: The ups and downs, how do you think you and your wife prepared him for the downs of the sport?
– It’s no different than life in general. There’s ups and downs in everything we do. I mean, there’s days you get up and you can tackle the world, and there’s other days the world’s on top of you. And that’s where I think racing parallels a lot to life. You’re not going to be on top all time. The farther you go up the ladder, the harder is it, the more dedication you got to put into it, and the more drive it takes to get to the level you need to get to. And I mean, just like last year, when the season was over and I looked back on the season, I said, I don’t care what happened. I said, the last 10 races were exceptional in my point from what I could see as far as where he matured as a race car driver.
INTERVIEWER: When he says stuff like that, do you hear dad talking, or do you hear a former race car driver who’s is a Hall of Famer talking?
– I think more dad than anything. I mean, we’ve done a lot of racing together over the years. There’s not very many short tracks we haven’t visited around the southeast, or really anywhere, for that matter. So he’s been around through all that. So I think he’s seen my strong points and weak points. He’s spotted for me for a long time. So, we’ve done a lot of racing together, so I think he’s watched me race more than anyone really. So, if anybody knows, I’d say he’s been around to see it.
– Are you having fun?
– Well, I get so emotionally attached to some of these races.
– How can you not?
BILL ELLIOT: Well, it’s different at this point in time. And I guess I get more frustrated because I can’t do anything. I get to the race track, and I can’t do anything. I want to do something.
CHASE ELLIOT: I’ve had fun with it for sure, and I still try to have fun with it now. I think that’s something you can’t lose sight of, so I’m looking forward to having some more fun as time goes. But, obviously, there’s a lot of serious things about it. It’s not a joke, right? So a lot of people depend on me. I depend on a lot of people, and it takes all of us to make it go around.