How Chase Elliott’s Road America Win Kicks Off New NASCAR July 4 Tradition
It takes time for traditions to take hold, but the everlasting visual of the inaugural Independence Day Weekend NASCAR event at Road America certainly looked the part.
Defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott had just won the Jockey Made in America 250 and was serenaded by the adoring public — around 100,000 strong — as he looked for wherever it was NASCAR wanted him to be.
Was it the frontstretch?
Oh, Turn 5.
Elliott hadn’t spent much time in Wisconsin over the years, but they love him here, which isn’t too dissimilar to everywhere he races these days.
While conducting the obligatory winner’s interview on NBC, the fans in Turn 5 were shouting ‘burnout, burnout, burnout,’ and the most popular driver is obligated to be a man of the people. Elliott humbly explained there wasn’t much rubber left on his rear tires after giving the frontstretch fans a burnout but offered to give it his best shot for them.
The fans in turn 5 wanted a burnout from @ChaseElliott as well!
HE DELIVERED. @RoadAmerica // #NBCRacingWeekend // #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/vFnGOCvUbd
True to his word, he smoked the rear tires until they exploded and needed a push truck to get back to pit road.
Road America features one of the most unique victory lanes in all of motorsports, and Elliott couldn’t get there without driving so his team needed to conduct one more four-tire pit stop to put rollers on their No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro before they could properly celebrate.
That’s a [email protected] needed a tire change to get to victory lane! #NBCRacingWeekend // #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/rqvaByasIf
Through it all, the crowd ate it up and everything felt right in NASCAR after the past year of conducting races in front of silent empty grandstands.
For 60 years, this holiday tradition was one reserved for Daytona International Speedway, but this past weekend is seemingly the start of a successful new one for a new era of NASCAR.
Unlike NASCAR’s failed and aborted 15-year effort to give Labor Day to Southern California and Atlanta at the expense of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, this actually seems to have a winning formula.
Located halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay, not to mention the 2.5 hours away from Chicago, Elkhart Lake is located around several major markets and within one of the most highly regarded racing cultures in the country.
Wisconsin plays host to Road America, over a dozen short tracks and a dozen dirt tracks, not to mention the rich heritage of the Milwaukee Mile.
Located on 640 acres of farmland, Road America can easily play host to a significant crowd with plenty of room to spare. It boasts arguably the best track food in the country, if not top-five a minimum, with some of the most picturesque sightlines in global motorsports.
Road America is a motorsports icon and it’s surprising that it took 65 years for NASCAR’s highest level to return, but it made some degree of sense of to do it on Independence Day weekend.
Families were watching overnight fireworks shows, camping and grilling, all around a diverse schedule of racing that included NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and the Trans-Am Series.
It looked like July 4.
It was fitting on so many levels that the race was won by Elliott, who is the undisputed road course king of the Cup Series, defending champion and the most popular driver. As is the case in most markets, a large majority of fans were there to see Elliott win and perform that burnout, too.
“Man, they were fired up,” Elliott said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever had that much peer pressure in my life to do a burnout. I knew it was going to happen. …
“I got down there in the interview, literally that place was packed. All these people are chanting ‘burnout’ at me. I wasn’t going to say no. So, I did. Blew the back tires off of it, then ran out of gas, had to have a push. It was just a timely deal. …
“The(se wins are) way too hard to get. You don’t know if or when you’ll ever get another one. If the fans want a burnout, I’m going to give them a burnout. That’s what it’s going to be. We’ll take the extra time going down the road.”
That’s also what it takes to bring them back next year and how a one-off becomes a two-off and eventually a new tradition.
Source: Read Full Article