Chase Elliott is all business at the racetrack, and that makes his social media feed a valuable source of insight into who the 21-year-old budding superstar really is.
If you follow Elliott, you know he likes the Atlanta Braves and Eric Church. But there’s something else he also posts about on occasion that seems intriguing: Flying his own plane.
Elliott has a Beechcraft Baron he uses to fly himself back and forth to most of the races in the southeast. He’s based out of Georgia, so the furthest he’s flown is New Hampshire Motor Speedway — though he also twice flew to Michigan International Speedway last season, as well as Texas Motor Speedway last fall.
His love of flying came from his dad, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who became a pilot at age 21 and is still an avid flier to this day.
“I was always intrigued by my dad flying,” Chase said last week. “I was very lucky to grow up around him and when I was real little, flying places was just such a cool freedom to have. I always looked up to him a lot, not only for his racing, but for that.”
As a kid, Elliott can remember watching his father work on airplanes when they weren’t at the racetrack. So he’s always had an interest in becoming a pilot himself, and he got his pilot’s license in 2015 at age 20.
He moved up to the Baron from a Cessna 182, but it’s still a relatively small plane with no bathroom and “it takes me a lot longer (to get to a track) than it does these other guys with their big jets.”
Carl Edwards and Mark Martin often flew themselves to races as well, and Matt Kenseth is also a pilot.
Elliott can always hitch a ride with his Hendrick Motorsports team if he doesn’t feel like flying somewhere himself, but he’s found being a pilot is good brain exercise for racing.
“That mental process of trying to keep the right things in the right order (is similar),” he said. “You’re multi-tasking a lot. You’re always trying to stay ahead of the game, especially flying and racing — both of those things come hand in hand.
“Just from a mental exercise, to keep your mind in check and do something with your brain that’s not on racing but has the same type of flow is good. I enjoy that.”
This is a big weekend for Elliott, who returns to his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway to run both the Truck and Cup races (he finished eighth in the Cup race last season).