Chase Elliott exploring other forms of racing this off-season

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A quiet off-season celebrating his first NASCAR Cup Series championship was never in the cards for Chase Elliott.

Since winning the title in November at Phoenix Raceway, Elliott has raced in the Snowball Derby and made his debut in dirt midget racing.

Next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he’ll make his first attempt at the Chili Bowl Nationals, where he’ll be one of over 300 drivers competing.

And at the end of this month, he’ll have another first when he suits up for Action Express Racing in the Rolex 24 sports car race at Daytona International Speedway.

During a Thursday appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Elliott said that plans for these events had been in the works for some time.

He also noted that they required more of an effort from him to explore other realms of racing.

MORE: A look at NASCAR drivers competing in 2021 Chili Bowl

“As I’ve got into Cup, I feel like I’ve kind of let that get away a little bit and I haven’t really put the effort into going and racing,” he told hosts Danielle Trotta and Larry McReynolds. “I’ve always enjoyed it. When people ask, I’ve always said, ‘Yes, I’d like to do more of it,’ and I did. I’ve always wanted to do more and get back involved. I just didn’t put the effort into doing it.

“I just felt like, last year, I needed to kind of get back to doing some of the things I’ve really enjoyed, and honestly, that’s racing for me. I’ve realized too that although our schedules are busy, there’s still time to go race and explore other things such as dirt racing if you make time for it.”

Additionally, Elliott feels he must take advantage of the opportunities while he’s still young.

“As you get older, I think it becomes harder to learn new disciplines,” he said. “Fortunately, I’m still in my 20s and I think it’s an achievable skill set to still go out there and try to learn now.

“Would that be the case if I was 35, instead of 25? I think it would be much harder to go and do.”

As for next week, Elliott said he’s been leaning on new Hendrick Motorsports teammate and reigning Chili Bowl champion Kyle Larson, as well as incoming Cup rookie Chase Briscoe, for advice.

Both Larson and Briscoe have a wealth of dirt racing knowledge to share with Elliott. But Elliott has no illusions of grand success.

“I think I have a lot to learn, and I think next week is gonna be really, really hard,” Elliott said.

“My expectations are very low. But I do just want to learn, continue to do that and make all the laps out there. Wherever we run, we run. Just try to learn the right way.”