Chase Elliott’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory wasn’t punctuated by donuts or a smoky burnout. Instead, Elliott got a helping hand from a Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
Elliott’s car sputtered out of fuel on his cool-down lap after winning the Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday at Watkins Glen International, prompting seven-time series champ Jimmie Johnson to step in with a friendly push.
“I just appreciate the support and the respect on the race track,” Elliott said. “Jimmie has been one of my heroes for a long, long time. I leaned on him a lot over this past offseason and I always lean on him, but certainly a lot throughout this off season just about the opportunities I’ve had in the past and not closing them out. He has been a big supporter of mine and that was one of the coolest things ever and I will never forget it.”
His father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, was serving as the team’s ancillary spotter on the backstretch and urged his son over the team’s radio to perform a burnout. The younger Elliott, lacking for fuel in the tank, was unable, and his No. 9 Chevrolet coasted to a halt after leaving Turn 5 on the 2.45-mile circuit.
That’s where Johnson provided an assist, giving him a nudge back to the frontstretch to help him celebrate in front of the main grandstand.
The show of teamwork, fittingly, came on a milestone day for Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott’s win marked the 250th premier series triumph for team owner Rick Hendrick.