Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elliott Carries on Tradition; like Father, like Son: Superspeedway Is Home for Pole Winner Chase Elliott

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elliott Carries on Tradition; like Father, like Son: Superspeedway Is Home for Pole Winner Chase Elliott

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

TALLADEGA, Ala. | Bill Elliott won the springtime pole in 1987 at the Talladega Superspeedway with the fastest lap in NASCAR history - 212.809 mph.

On Saturday his son, Chase Elliott, carried on the family tradition by winning the pole for Sunday's Geico 500.

The only difference was, to the day, a 29-year gap - and 20.148 mph.

Rules have changed dramatically at Talladega since the 1980s, especially with the addition of a speed-reducing restrictor plate to keep cars from becoming airborne during a crash. But one thing remains the same: The Elliott family still loves to hold it wide open at the biggest raceway in the sport.

"That is pretty special," Chase Elliott said after posting a lap of 192.661 mph. "This has always been a special place to him [Bill]."

Bill Elliott, who's now retired, watched his son's fast lap from pit road.

Elliott, a rookie hired to replace Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet, will start beside Austin Dillon, the grandson of car owner Richard Childress. Dillon was the first driver to race with the No. 3 since Dale Earnhardt was killed on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

Chase Elliott also won the pole for this year's Daytona 500, and he did it in the same car Gordon drove to three poles in four restrictor-plate races of a year ago. Elliott led only three laps at Daytona and was shuffled to the middle of the pack until a crash dropped him to a 37th-place finish.

"Unfortunately I didn't bring it home in one piece," the 20-year-old driver said. "They had to fix it, but they did a great job doing that and hopefully we can just try to be smart, try to cut down on some of the dumb mistakes I made in February and try to give ourselves a shot and be there at the end.

"For us, we have to realize it's just a starting spot and there is 500 miles of racing to do [Sunday] that a lot can change in a hurry. You have to realize that. Really take advantage of our spot on pit road, I think, is the biggest thing. Having that first pit box at the end of the day is going to be more important than the starting spot. We will see how it turns out."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. …

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