FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Bill Elliott rarely got rattled during his three-plus decades racing at NASCAR's highest level. He worked hard, didn't worry about what was going on around him, and did his talking on the track.
He was "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville" and fans idolized the way Elliott conducted himself both inside the car and out.
Now, 11 years after his final full-time season, there's another Elliott turning heads for the very same reasons.
Chase Elliott scored his first career Nationwide Series victory on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, winning in just his sixth start at NASCAR's junior varsity level. He's the second-youngest winner in series history, clocking in at roughly four months older than record-holder Joey Logano, who was 18 years and 21 months when he won in 2008.
They called Logano "Sliced Bread" at the time, as in, "he's the next best thing since ..."
Chase Elliott doesn't need a nickname. He's simply the future of NASCAR, and it's a role car co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes Elliott can handle.
"He's just really humble, but very understanding of what's happening to him," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He grew up with his father as a racer and saw how popular Bill was and I'm sure has been in and around situations where he's not going to be overwhelmed with the attention. He's really focused on his racing and trying to do well. He's young, doesn't have a lot of distractions, and, you know, got a good family unit so he should be in good hands."
As Earnhardt lauded the JR Motorsports rookie, praising Elliott's maturity, calm demeanor, and eagerness to listen and learn, he was asked if the young driver reminds him of anyone else.
"His daddy," Earnhardt said. "They're similar in personality. You had to really work him over to get him upset. He was normally just concerned with his car, getting his car faster, and, you know, back in the mid '80s when Bill and his brothers just focused on what they were doing and they would show up and whoop everybody, you know, and they weren't arrogant and cocky, they just showed up and ran. That's what he reminds me of."
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