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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Red Bull driver Verstappen wins Formula One’s Brazilian GP

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images
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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.

Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”

Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.

Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.