New Attitude Elliott? Chase prefers a practical approach

Jun 27, 2022, 10:17 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 10:20 am

Chase Elliott holds the guitar presented to him after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday,...

Chase Elliott holds the guitar presented to him after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

              Chase Elliott does a burnout after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
              Chase Elliott holds the guitar presented to him after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
              Chase Elliott poses with his guitar and trophy after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Lebanon, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As he prepared for one of the hottest races of the NASCAR season, Chase Elliott said he would use positive thinking to convince himself it wasn’t so bad.

And when Elliot was frustrated with his struggling Chevrolet in the early stages at Nashville Superspeedway, his crew chief found his driver receptive to a pep talk that helped NASCAR’s current Cup points leader win Sunday night’s race.

Elliott has never presented himself as an eternal optimist, In fact, his Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott last year told The Associated Press his son “acts like he’s loading up the covered wagon heading West instead of doing what he loves.”

But the 26-year-old seemed lighter at Nashville and his mood more tolerant, even before he picked up his second win of the season. So as NASCAR’s most popular driver heads next to Road America, where he won last year’s Cup return after a 65-year absence on the Wisconsin road course, AP asked Elliott about his current mindset.

“I feel like my mindset tries to just stay in the realm of reality, it’s always been my approach to just try to be realistic about whatever the situation is,” Elliott told AP on Tuesday. “I do think it’s important to have confidence in your ability and what you’re doing, but I also think it’s important to recognize ‘Hey, if I need to do something different, I’m not too set in my ways, not too stubborn to be willing to at least try to adjust to have a better result or a better approach.'”

When reminded of his father’s remark a year ago — a dig at Elliott’s perceived negative attitude — the 2020 Cup champion said he doesn’t have a glass-half-empty approach. He acknowledged he’s very hard on himself and has high expectations, but he’s also an Elliott and his extended family was never recognized for their joyful attitudes.

Bill Elliott, despite winning NASCAR’s most popular driver award a record 16 times, could be curt and dismissive. His brother, the longtime respected engine builder Ernie Elliott, was often short on words. To this day, the entire Elliott family still lives on family land in Dawsonville, Georgia, and no amount of fame or financial riches has changed them.

“Look, I grew up with my dad and Uncle Ernie and I know a lot of people don’t know them to the extent that I do, but they’ve done this stuff for a really long time,” Chase told AP. “And they’ve seen how this stuff works and when you grow up in an environment that is so well versed — it’s not that they’re not appreciative or don’t recognize how fortunate we are in our lives to call racing a living. I do think we have a very realistic appreciation for that side of it.

“I just at a very young age, I saw a very experienced reality of this world, and, you know, right wrong or indifferent, that’s just how I was raised and that’s just the viewpoint that I watched. It gives me a different approach than a lot of other guys in the series.”

He said his relationship with crew chief Alan Gustafson is so strong because Gustafson understands who Elliott is — Elliott used the word “practical” to describe his approach — and is able to extract what he needs from his driver.

“My goal is to always make the driver the weak link. If he’s the weak link, then I’ve done my job, the team has done their job,” Gustafson told AP about his pep talk with Elliott during Sunday’s weather delay. “With him, it’s not an easy thing to do because he’s a pretty strong link. So that’s what I try to do and what I tried to tell him: ‘We’re done messing up and we’re going to get after it, so stick with us, bring your A game, all will be good.'”

Elliott spoke to his father on Monday about his Nashville victory and on Tuesday expected to visit with his uncle at the family shop in Dawsonville. On Wednesday, the die-hard Georgia sports fan will be part of a celebration of Georgia champions at the College Football Hall of Fame.

He treats each day the same and sees no changes in his personality of approach.

“Some days are gonna be really good and there’s some days that aren’t,” he told AP. “If I’m talking to dad, or if I’m talking to Uncle Ernie at the shop today, our conversation is not going to be a whole lot different than it was last week. You know?

“It’s just very, very straightforward, and I appreciate that.”


More AP auto racing: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

New Attitude Elliott? Chase prefers a practical approach