COMMENTARY | Given that Chase Elliott already had a connection with Hendrick Motorsports, it was no surprise that news broke Monday he will drive in the Nationwide series for Jr. Motorsports full-time in 2014.
And while it's still very early in the young man's career, I'm going to make a bold prediction here: This kid is going to be a superstar.
Anyone who watched him race in the truck series in 2013 knows he is an aggressive driver with talent to spare. He tore up the track everywhere he went, finished up front pretty much every time he got on the track, and scored a controversial first win that involved him wrecking leader Ty Dillon on the last lap at MoSport.
Some drivers are just winners, and you can tell that from the time they step on the scene, and I am confident Chase Elliott is one of these winners.
And the best news for Chase is he's all set up for the future if things go well in Nationwide for the next couple of years.
Hendrick Motorsports will most definitely have a spot opening up in a couple years, as Jeff Gordon has indicated he won't race forever and will quit at some point to spend more time with his family. I have a strong hunch that will come after the 2015 season, which will be his 23rd full year on the Cup circuit.
If Elliott is doing well in the Nationwide series, why would they choose anyone else for that ride when it becomes available? I don't think there will be any options more attractive that a young driver who could develop into another Jeff Gordon-caliber Cup driver.
I fully expect Chase Elliott to run strong all year and get some wins in Nationwide races, and perhaps even compete for the title. That series is made for a young, hungry driver like him and will be the next stepping stone on what is likely to be a long, successful career.
Matt Myftiu lives in Michigan, has been a walking encyclopedia of NASCAR since immersing himself in the sport over 15 years ago, and has worked as a journalist for two decades. His blog on the sport, NASCAR: Beyond the Track, has been published by The Oakland Press for the past 5 years. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu.
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