|Chase Elliott has to race way in during Open to make All-Star Race.|
“I’m all for trying something different. They saw it as an opportunity to try in a racing circumstance, which is the way we need to be trying things. Going out running by yourself with a new package is not going to teach you a whole lot. I think us being in a racing environment with a new set of rules will show whether it’s a good direction or not.”
Elliott on participating in the All-Star Race:
“I have enjoyed racing it the past couple of years. Also, very fortunate for the fan vote the past couple of seasons to get us into it. Very appreciative of that, but I would love to race my way in by winning one of the stages and not have to be up for a vote.”
SUNENERGY1 DEBUTS AT CHARLOTTE: For the first time in the 2018 season, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will adorn the hood of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. This weekend's NASCAR Cup Series Open race will be the first of four races that SunEnergy1 will serve as the primary sponsor for Chase Elliott.
ALL-STAR HUNT: Elliott will attempt to qualify for his third NASCAR All-Star Race by first competing in the Open on Saturday. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native can lock his way into the main event by winning Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3 or by capturing the fan vote.
PREVIOUS OPEN RACES: Last season, Elliott participated in his third career Open but narrowly missed out on racing his way into the main event. Still, thanks to Elliott’s loyal fan base, the 22-year-old driver has advanced to the All-Star Race in each of the past two seasons after being chosen as the fan vote winner.
MEET THE NO. 9 PIT CREW: The No. 9 pit crew consists of rear-tire changer Chad Avrit, 35, from El Centro, California, who is the owner of Swell Board Shop on Lake Norman and Burn Boot Camp in Marietta, Georgia; jackman/tire carrier Jared Erspamer, 32, from Omaha, Nebraska, who attended Northwest Missouri State University and was introduced to racing by his college football coach; fueler, John Gianninoto, 29, from Tucson, Arizona, who played football for UNLV and was named Academic All-MWC team (2007, 2009) and served as captain in 2010; front-tire changer Nick O’Dell, 34, from Springfield, Illinois, who is a 16-year veteran in the sport; tire carrier/jackman, T.J. Semke, 25, from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who was a defensive lineman for three years at the University of Kansas, earning Academic All-Big 12 Second Team Honors in two of the three years he played for the Jayhawks.
GET YOUR VOTES IN: There’s still time! The All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is less than a week away and Elliott is among 20 drivers who are not yet locked into the event. In both 2016 and 2017, Elliott was voted into the all-star field by the fans. This year, fans have the same opportunity to get their favorite driver into the ranks to compete for a chance to win the $1 million All-Star Race purse by voting once a day at www.nascar.com/fanvote. Votes shared via Facebook or Twitter will count double toward a driver's total. Voting is now open and will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, May 18.
NASCAR OPEN AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Elliott is scheduled to participate in the NASCAR Cup Series Open driver autograph session on Saturday, May 19 beginning at 2:30 p.m. local time at the Pit Road Pre-Race Party.
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia