Bill Elliott: Ford passed on son Chase, but Hendrick and Chevy rode to the rescue

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If you see a bunch of Ford executives with bruised shins, it’s because they’re probably still kicking themselves for letting Chase Elliott get away.

Bob Pockrass of SportingNews.com has an excellent story about a talk he had with Bill Elliott, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this Friday.

Elliott, who spent most of his NASCAR career driving a Ford, related how he went to the company to try to build a deal that would back his young son’s racing career.

“I tried to make the Ford thing happen,” Elliott said. “It didn’t. I saw it one way and they saw it another way and it didn’t work out.”

Elliott and team owner Rick Hendrick then worked out a deal to put Elliott in a Hendrick-supplied car for the K&N Pro Series East beginning in 2011.

That led to last year’s deal that landed Elliott in an Xfinity ride with JR Motorsports (which is owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and has strong ties to Hendrick) and backing from NAPA, which had just ended a longtime sponsorship affiliation with Michael Waltrip Racing.

“Mr. Hendrick came to us with an opportunity that at the point in time, it wasn’t much of an opportunity but he was the only one that would talk to us,” Elliott told Pockrass.

And the rest is history.

Chase Elliott went on to win the 2014 Nationwide Series championship at the age of 19, the youngest series champion in NASCAR history.

And if a flurry of rumors are to be believed, Chase will likely be the heir apparent to replace Jeff Gordon, who will walk away from Sprint Cup racing at the end of the upcoming 2015 season.

“My gratitude to (Hendrick), I just can’t say enough about the man about what his character is in the sport and what he’s done for us,” Bill Elliott said.

“That kind of went against my roots as far as the Ford goes, but that’s the path we ended up having to take at the point in time and I can’t do anything about it. Right now, it’s set and that’s the way it is.”

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Wickens undergoes successful surgery

NBC Sports
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Just days after successfully piloting an Acura NSX around Toronto’s Exhibition Palace street course, Robert Wickens has undergone a successful surgery operation to remove hardware from his leg after a previous infection had returned, the 30-year-old Canadian revealed on social media Wednesday.

“Spinal Cord injury has such highs and lows,” Wickens said in an Instagram post prior to surgery. “One day I’m in the NSX driving the hand controlled car, and the next day I’m getting ready for surgery. Life is so unpredictable!”

Fortunately, the surgery went well for Wickens, as he later announced that his surgery had no complications. Wickens will now start six weeks of IV antibiotics before he returns to a full rehab program.

“One piece (there’s a lot) of the hardware had an infected screw,” Wickens wrote. “All hardware in my leg was removed.”

Wickens is currently recovering from spinal fracture sustained in an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway last August. Since his crash and diagnosis, Wickens has openly documented his recovery process through social media.

Wickens returned to the INDYCAR paddock for the first time since his accident at the season-opener in St. Petersburg in March, and his laps behind the wheel in Toronto last weekend marked the first time he had driven in public since his accident.

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