Updated: Nov 13, 2022
After an intense season of 38 races, you might think that Chase Elliott would want to enjoy some downtime now that the NASCAR Cup series season is over.
But less than a week into his off-season, he’s back racing, this time in Nitro Rallycross at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix. Of course, it’s not the 2020 Cup series champion’s first time in the series – he contested last season’s finale in Florida, but what’s it like being back?
“Yeah it’s been good, everybody’s super laid back around here so it’s super nice,” Elliott said. “That’s not the norm for me, everything’s very different in the asphalt, NASCAR side of things. So yeah, it’s just nice to just come and have some fun.
“Obviously A Shoc’s involved here, [that] plays a big role [and] having an opportunity to come do [this] which is really cool of them, to kind of include me in something that’s not really my background,” he added. “So yeah, I enjoy coming over. It’s fun, I’ve enjoyed the weekend, these cars are all-electric this year which is different to what we had last year too so yeah I’m having fun.”
The electric point is a big one. A world away from his ‘day job’ driving V8 stock cars, it’s something else he’s had to adjust to this weekend in addition to the flying and sliding.
“I’ve never raced one, honestly I haven’t really driven one on the road much so yeah, [it’s] a little different,” he said. “It takes some getting used to but these things are like a big RC car really, it’s kinda wild not hearing any engine noise or anything like that.
“But I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been fun, and I hope I keep improving throughout the weekend and we’ll see how it goes.”
Something that’s helped Elliott has been the relaxed atmosphere of the Nitro Rallycross paddock, and it’s something he feels the motorsport world has been lacking.
“I feel the biggest thing is really just the vibe of the race weekend,” he said when asked what stands out the most about Nitro Rallycross compared to other series. “It reminds me a lot of my time going and watching Supercross, which I think is really cool.
“It’s kind of the vibe where a Supercross event meets four-wheeled racing, which I think is really a spot in the motorsports world that needs to be taken, in my opinion, because there’s just not really a lot of those types of environments for four-wheeled racing. There is for motorcycle racing, but not really for us and I think it draws a different crowd and I think it’s important that we have something that has that type of atmosphere and climate for fans to come and enjoy.”
It’s clear that Elliott has found something of a second home in Nitro Rallycross, and with this being his second visit, can we expect this to become a regular thing, year-on-year?
“Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. We’ll just have to kind of wait and see,” he said. “Obviously, I can’t predict the future, but yeah, I enjoy it, and I feel like I’m progressing so as long as that’s the pace, I’ll come hang out if I have the opportunity to.”