Chase Elliott loses rookie stripe, hopes to avoid sophomore jinx

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Now that he’s moved into his second season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Chase Elliott is happy to have turned in the yellow rookie stripe on the back of his No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet SS.

But one thing the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott does not want is to trade the yellow stripe for NASCAR’s notorious sophomore jinx.

“You hope you can continue forward and not look at it as Year 2 or from that perspective, you have to look at it as a new season,” Elliott said Tuesday during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte. “As boring of an answer as that is, that’s how you have to approach it. One thing I have is the same crew chief for two years. I haven’t had that before. I enjoyed working with Alan (Gustafson) last year.

“He’s one of the best in my opinion. I’m pretty confident in that. He’s very underrated in what he does and tries to make the race team go.”

Even though he made the playoffs in his first season — finished 10th in the overall standings with 10 top-fives and 17 top-10s — and also earned Cup Rookie of the Year, Elliott said he still has a lot to learn and to “improve on areas where we or I struggled in, and improve areas we succeeded in. I want to keep it as simple as that.”

On Monday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that the Hooters restaurant chain will serve as primary sponsor for two races and will be associate sponsor for the other 34 races of both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Elliott knows he’s the latest part of the Hooters legacy in NASCAR.

The company has sponsored cars in over 150 Cup-level races over the years, including Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 Winston Cup championship team, defeating Bill Elliott in the final race of the season to earn the title by 10 points.

“I know their history with Alan Kulwicki is long and him and my dad had that great championship battle there (1992 championship),” Chase Elliott said. “So it’s kind of ironic to see that, but it’s cool and neat to carry the Hooters colors.”

With Elliott following in the footsteps of Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS, he was asked if there’s any extra pressure on him, particularly with long-time, old school racing fans.

“I just want to be me and keep it as straightforward as I can,” he said. “I like to keep it simple as possible. I appreciate the support we have and having the people we have.

“I remember at Darlington last year, I saw a bunch of new 24 gear. That goes a long way. It doesn’t go unnoticed. You hope people support you for who you are. I hope that’s the way it goes for me.”

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 90: Roger Slack

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Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.

Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.

Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

NASCAR America: How Daniel Suarez found out he was replacing Carl Edwards (video)

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.

Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.

When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: What Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other (video)

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Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,

One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.

Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez’s journey from Mexico and VW Beetles to NASCAR champion (video)

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In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.

It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.

Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.

Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.