April 5, 2014

TMS Pit Stops: Earnhardt bullish on Elliot

Junior thinks Nationwide winner Chase Elliott is going to become the “next best thing.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows better than anyone in all of sports the burden of living with unattainable expectations.

His came through the gene pool, he being the son of a legendary figure.

Chase Elliott might now be facing newer and higher standards based on what race observers are calling a freakish ability behind the wheel.

“People ask me if I talk to him or tutor him, but he’s learning faster than you can teach him what’s going on,” said Earnhardt, who as head of JR Motorsports owns Elliott’s No. 9. “I don’t know if he’ll have a problem with it, to be honest with you.”

Elliott, an 18-year-old high school senior, continued his meteoric rise up NASCAR’s ladder by winning the Nationwide O’Reilly 300 in a dominating fashion that left just about everybody in the sparse crowd at Texas Motor Speedway stunned.

After qualifying Friday afternoon, Earnhardt said, Elliott walked to the garage with no attention from autograph seekers.

“I thought to myself, ‘I know he’s going to win one day or another … and he’s going to become the next best thing.’ It won’t be long before he’s swarmed with attention.”

Calling all ducks

In addition to six-shooters and cowboy hats, members of the winning team in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Duck Commander 500 will receive one-of-a-kind duck calls made by the novelty hunting manufacturer.

The driver, crew chief and team owner will be presented a Black Wood Duck Call made from a rare African wood and featuring company president Phil Robertson’s patented double-reed system.

Other team members will be given the Classic Commander Duck Call, the company’s first patented duck-hunting tool, made with a cypress wood barrel and cedar insert.


“Not only is he fast, he’s smart. I love smart race car drivers.” — Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon on Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 champion Chase Elliott.

“It’s really exciting that there’s this many kids excited … to read and achieve something for themselves individually and for their schools.” — Kyle Busch, who was on hand Friday to congratulate children involved in TMS’ “Speeding to Read,” an incentive-based program designed to encourage elementary school youngsters to read more.

Hungry much?

If your appetite can’t be adequately fulfilled at TMS, then the fumes are getting to you.

Two additional tasty treats earned a place on concession-stand menus near you.

Israel Garcia’s Big Hoss Burrito, winner for best flavor at the Speedway’s Shake ’N Bake Off on Friday, can be purchased near Gates 104 and 120. The Big Hoss tower of fresh-cut potatoes topped with chili, cheese and onions — tops for originality — is near Gate 140.

Garcia’s secret? Seasoning willingly donated by in-laws he signed on for through his wife. The in-laws own City View Tacos in Duncanville and El Tacaso in Dallas.

Garcia, his wife and other relatives own Speedy Tacos, a concession and catering business.

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