FORT WORTH, Texas (November 1, 2018) – The following is Thursday’s event recap from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender Chase Elliott visiting the massive General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas, and previewing the NASCAR Playoffs, including Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 Round of 8 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender Chase Elliott made a special visit Thursday to the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington to take a facility tour, visit with the employees and roll a newly built vehicle off the production assembly line.
Elliott, who also was joined by his NASCAR Hall of Fame father Bill for the visit, met with a number of employees in the plant auditorium for a Q&A session and photographs before heading out for a guided tour around the massive 4.375-million-square-foot facility that employs more than 4,000 workers.
Elliott received quite an education by personally witnessing how GM trucks and SUVs are built from start to finish as he visited the various stages of construction at the plant that opened in 1954.
“I met a lady who has worked here for 41 years today and it’s just amazing to see the passion people have for their job, especially when you are affiliated with that kind of passion,” said Elliott, who drives the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s encouraging and it just gives you a lot of confidence, makes the partnership easy and it just makes sense. And that’s always a good thing.”
Elliott had the rare treat of hopping in the driver’s seat of a freshly completed Chevrolet Tahoe and driving a similar version of his own personal vehicle off the assembly line. The NASCAR star had to hustle since the plant production averages a vehicle off the line every 60 seconds and approximately 1,400 daily throughout a three-shift, seven-day work cycle.
When asked earlier which feature he would like to have in his No. 9 Chevrolet stock car, he pondered the question for moment and said, “I’d have to say the AC, especially in the summer (races).”
Elliott’s first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory came at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. Elliott won by 2.66 seconds over Kyle Busch to become the second-youngest winner in the history of the Xfinity Series at 18 years, 4 months and 7 days. He also became the first rookie to win an Xfinity Series race in the history of Texas Motor Speedway. Elliott, who led four times for 38 laps, took the lead from Kevin Harvick and led the final 16 laps of the 200-lap event for the victory.
Fast Fact II
In a combined 10 starts between the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series at Texas Motor Speedway, Elliott has finished outside of the top 10 just once … and that was 11th in April’s MENCS O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. On the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series side, he has recorded four top-10s in five starts with a best of fourth coming in the 2016 AAA Texas 500. On the Xfinity Series front, Elliott has never finished worse than eighth in five career starts, which includes the 2014 win and a pair of fourth-place finishes.
What They Are Saying
“You have to be aware of your surroundings, for sure. If you find yourself in a situation or somebody in front of you that you were racing for points has an issue and now you are in a decent spot in points, are you gonna make a gutsy move maybe that may crash you – no, probably not. But those are just the things you have to weigh out all the time. You never want to put yourself in a position to crash, anyways. Honestly, those guys you are racing – your Kyles (Busch) and your (Kevin) Harvicks of the world – don’t crash ever and neither does (Martin) Truex (Jr.) or any of those guys. So you really have to be on your game every week. It’s the norm. Nowadays, there’s no room to be off in an area. Everybody’s too good.” – Elliott on his approach in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
“To me, you definitely have some more confidence after Watkins Glen, just getting to Victory Lane. Obviously, that was a major hurdle. Some trying times to get to that point. But honestly, I feel like the biggest thing since then has been in just knowing to win those races we haven’t changed our approach at all to do that. From my rookie year through ’17 or this year, our week to week to week approach and meetings and preparations has not changed a bit. I think that’s great to know the process we use works and when everything around us, the cars, and everything falls your way. That’s an approach that can win and I think that is encouraging and I think that brings confidence to our team to know we didn’t have to change a whole lot to get a win.” – Elliott on what his first three career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins in the past 12 weeks has brought to him and the team.
“Sure, winning is great. I’d rather much have three wins than none, but no I think it just gives you more fire to want to compete for a championship because you know when you get to Homestead you’re gonna have to win. And that you’ve won a couple of races gives you some confidence to go do that.” – Elliott on whether he would be satisfied with this season for recording his first three career MENCS wins or yearns for more.
“Honestly, being good doesn’t cut it in the round that we’re currently in. You have to be running inside the top five all day to score and accumulate the points from each stage and obviously the final race results to keep up because that’s what the competitors are going to do.” – Elliott on how well the Round of 8 Playoff contenders need to run to advance to the Championship 4.
“I like how simple this makes it. I do enjoy it. I think that you have to enjoy it because you almost need to treat every week like that. I think you need to create a culture within your team that embraces it and enjoys it. If you were to make it to Homestead, that’s how it’s gonna be down there anyway. To me, if you don’t embrace it and enjoy it every week you’re going to be up the creek when you go to Miami.” – Elliott said about relishing the thought of a must-win scenario at either Texas or Phoenix to advance to the Championship 4 in Miami.
“I enjoyed it more and I had better runs before they repaved it. Anytime the race track ages and things, it’s fun for us. We get to move around and do some different things. It just takes time for a race track to get back that way. I know they put a lot of effort into trying to make the race track age. I do feel it is widening and I think as it widens I hope that will suit me a little better. It’s just tough to make up a lot of ground in a hurry there. At least it has been in the last couple of races. I don’t know why the repave has been so bad for us. I know you said we haven’t finished worse that 11th but I just felt we’ve run bad since they repaved it to be honest. We just got to hopefully turn that around this weekend.” – Elliott on his critical assessment of his Cup runs at Texas after the 2016 repave despite not finishing worse than 11th in any of those starts.