"He's a teenager. You can't tell him anything — he listens to a little bit, maybe with half an ear," said Elliott, before softening his stance. "For the most part, he gets it. He's got a pretty good head on his shoulders. This is all up to him. If he wants to race, that's fine. If he don't, that's fine, too. But he's got to go on and make it for himself.
"You get him to a point and then from then on, performance and driving, has to continue on its own. It's up to him and circumstances."
Getting to this point has come from hard work and the lessons Chase has learned alongside his father and small crew in their Georgia shop. He understands the hours of labor it requires to get him to the track, and in having grown up inside the sport, Chase has had his fair share of role models.
He considers himself a fan of Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, and has paid attention to the way media-savvy Carl Edwards carries himself.
"More than anything, just being around the sport, you see guys come and go," Chase said. "I see some guys who go about it in an awesome way and couldn't do a better job, and I try to take from that. There's a lot to be learned from watching it looking inside."
Bill Elliott said his son is something of a NASCAR junkie and watches every minute of television coverage possible, from the pre-race show all the way through Victory Lane celebrations. He sees his son emulating five-time NASCAR champion Johnson in how he presents himself.
"All his life he's been around grown-up people, and he seems very mature in what he does," Bill said. "He seems to have a good drive about him as far as motivation to get him where he needs to be, and he looks up to Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson — he idolizes those guys. After I've gotten to know Jimmie and how focused he is, he's one hell of a focused individual. He's able to sift through it and stay focused on it all, and put it all together. I think Chase has looked at it that and is learning from that."
So now Chase sits and watches the calendar, waiting for his Nov. 28 birthday, when he'll be clear to race anything he wants. The plan is to continue juggling his final year at Kings Ridge Christian School in Atlanta, where educators are already working with the family to front-load his schedule so he'll have an easier time pursuing a full-time ride in 2014.
Chase is anxious to turn 18, and although he's grateful for the opportunity to run on the small tracks in trucks, he can't help but wonder why NASCAR can't consider drivers on a case-by-case basis for other events.
As his dad watches from the sidelines, he thinks his kid has got a shot at doing big things in NASCAR.
"Even if I try to look at it as objectively as I possibly can, for all the stuff he's run, and now, aligning everything right and getting him with Rick and getting the right crew chief around him, he does real well for himself," Bill said. "He's still got a lot to learn. But on the flipside of that, at this point, he's got a hell of a resume.
"If you look at pure racing resume and what he's accomplished, and even if he does nothing else the rest of his career, he's got one hell of a resume."
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