Elliott focuses on present, not 2014 uncertainty
June 19, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Chase Elliott’s ARCA victory at Pocono Raceway earlier this month hasn’t altered the 17-year-old’s 2013 racing schedule.
Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Cup champion Bill Elliott, became the youngest winner in ARCA history with the June 8 victory.
In seven career ARCA starts, Elliott has yet to finish outside the top 10. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he made his series debut this season, he has three starts and finishes of sixth, fifth and fourth.
"We don’t have many options with my age. We’re kind of maxed out on the things we can do."
-- Chase Elliott
There’s talk of an impending NASCAR Nationwide Series ride with Hendrick Motorsports, which oversees his limited ARCA and truck efforts.
Because of his age, Elliott is prohibited from competing in Nationwide, which has a minimum age limit of 18. He will turn 18 in late November, well after the racing season has come to an end for the year.
“A lot of people have been talking about it,” Elliott said of a potential Nationwide ride. “But us? Not so much.
“I’m taking it a race at a time. I think if we can have a good rest of the year, if I can do my job and improve at all the tracks we go to, I think next year (will take care of itself).
“The thing is, we don’t have many options with my age. We’re kind of maxed out on the things we can do. So we’re doing a handful of ARCA and Truck races, and what little Late Model racing I can do at home.
“There’s really not a whole lot of races on our schedule this year, but the quality of the races is pretty big.”
Elliott will be back behind the wheel this weekend, competing in the Scott 160 ARCA event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. It is a companion event, run in conjunction with the Nationwide Series.
It will be only his second series start on a road course, but Elliott has already proven to be competitive outside the more familiar ovals. Last season, he finished second at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a 2.250-mile road course, losing the lead and the race on the final lap.
“I love them. Always have,” Elliott said. “Being able to do it last year in a stock car was different; it’s just a blast. I think a lot of guys will tell you that. It’s something we don’t get to do a lot.”
While he said he would like to get a chance to compete in Nationwide, Elliott said there currently is no plan in place to put him behind the wheel.
“I think that would be phenomenal," he said of potentially racing in the series. "Personally, that’s where I’d like to be.
“But there really is no plan, per se. Obviously lots of rumors (are) going around now as to what we’re going to do. A lot of it is up in the air. It’s up to what Mr. (Hendrick) wants to do. In the end, it’s really his decision, whatever he feels like is the right step for me and I’m going to be supportive of that no matter what.”
It is also worth noting, he said, that primary sponsor Aaron’s has a say in what takes place beyond this year. The company is already involved in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series as sponsor of the No. 55 Toyota team fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing with a deal that is up for renewal at year’s end.
“There are a lot of variables that will affect how things work out,” Elliott said. “But one thing that is not a variable is what we have planned this year, and we’re going to make the most of that.”