Bristol holds a special place for Chase Elliott

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 16: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Hooters Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Long before he started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Chase Elliott developed a special affinity for Bristol Motor Speedway and the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.

“Yeah, I think Bristol is the one that kind of has that asterisk next to it for me, just because the environment here is so cool,” Elliott said on Friday before Cup practice. “This fall race, at night, 500 laps—this was one of the events that, when I was a kid, it was larger than life.

“You couldn’t get a ticket for this thing for five years. It was just one of those events that everyone wanted to be at, and if you weren’t there or you weren’t talking about it in the early 2000’s, you weren’t living is how I thought it was.”

In fact, the Night Race helped shape Elliott’s decision to follow in the footsteps of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.

“When I look back at this event and what I remember of it, this was one of the races that made me want to be a race car driver, honestly,” Elliott said.

“The environment here is unmatched, and this event is special. I don’t see another date or track on our schedule that can rival what this environment is on Saturday night in August or September.”