Dale Earnhardt Jr.: No need to speed up Chase Elliott’s timetable

NEWTON, IA - MAY 16: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Get To Know Newton 250 Presented By Sherwin Williams at Iowa Speedway on May 16, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
NEWTON, IA - MAY 16:  Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Get To Know Newton 250 Presented By Sherwin Williams at Iowa Speedway on May 16, 2014 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
NEWTON, IA – MAY 16: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Get To Know Newton 250 Presented By Sherwin Williams at Iowa Speedway on May 16, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.—Those who are eager to promote Chase Elliott to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will have to get past Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Yes, Elliott has already won two NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season. Yes, he has a realistic chance to win the Sunoco rookie-of-the-year award and the series championship in the same season.

But no matter what Elliott achieves this year, car-owner Earnhardt insists the driver of the No. 9 is on a two-year plan in the Nationwide Series. That’s his timetable, and he’s sticking to it.

“We have like a two-year plan, I suppose, that he runs in the Nationwide Series, and I think you just stick with the plan regardless of the success he is having,” Earnhardt said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, quashing talk of an early promotion. “You have the commitments in line with sponsors and what have you, so I think it will suit him well to relax and not have to worry about that and just follow the plan that he has had in front of him from the start.

“He is really young too, so he has a lot of time on his hands and time to get to Cup level to realize that potential, one day. But yes, I think he can just sit there and relax knowing what we tried to set out to do from the start and not really adjust.”

Besides, the 18-year-old driver has plenty to keep him occupied. This weekend Elliott is commuting between his high school graduation in Georgia and the NNS race in Iowa.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.