Georgia native Chase Elliott eyes Atlanta win
August 28, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR Wire Service
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Chase Elliott's young racing career has taken him across the country from the beaches of Daytona to the deserts of Phoenix and even over the border to Canada where he announced his presence to the NASCAR world as the then youngest victor of a national series event.
Ironically, the 18-year-old wunderkind has never competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track located 80 miles south of his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia.
In fact, the only time he has even taken a motor vehicle out on the track was when he took Great Clips customers for a spin in a pace car in July.
He will finally get the chance to race in front of his hometown crowd in Saturday's Great Clips 300 Benefitting Feed the Children (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
"It's always exciting to race around home, and anytime you can do that it's definitely one of the places you want to shine," Elliott said. "There's no question this is one of the dates I've been most excited for all season long. Who doesn't want to do well in front of their friends and family? I'm really looking forward to the weekend. This will be big."
Even bigger than the chance to put on a show for his friends and family is the opportunity for Elliott to further strengthen his hold on the top of the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. At the moment, he leads teammate Regan Smith and fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Ty Dillon by 13 and 30 points, respectively. Even after a streak of four top-10 finishes in five races following his victory at Chicago – including a third-place performance last week at Bristol – he has only been able to increase his advantage over Smith by six points.
"Unfortunately, I don't think my pace car laps last month count as ‘experience' at Atlanta, so I don't really know what to expect," Elliott said. "I have a lot of good information to lean on through my teammates and crew chief at JR Motorsports, and that's what I plan to do until I'm able to turn some laps myself. It's a historic track. I've been there many times, so I'm really looking forward to finally racing on it."