- Matt Remsberg, ESPNHS
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Chase Elliott inhabits two worlds simultaneously.
On weekends, he's a budding superstar on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The son of legendary racer Bill Elliott, Chase was signed by Hendrick Motorsports at age 15 and has won 22 times in 82 starts since 2010.
But once Monday morning rolls around, it's back to King's Ridge Christian (Alpharetta, Ga.) where he's a sophomore in high school.
We caught up with Chase to ask him about life as a high school race car driver.
ESPNHS: How difficult is balancing your racing career while still attending high school?
Elliott: Every day during every class, at some point I wish I was at the track. So that's a daily battle. It's hard because I know my competition is able to dedicate themselves 24/7 and I'm not always able to. But I understand how important school is, and I'm very lucky to be at a school that works with me and understands that I'm going to need to miss a whole lot of days.
ESPNHS: How much do your classmates and teachers understand about what you do?
Elliott: I think they know I'm a driver and they know who my dad is, but it's hard to really follow my career since I'm not in races that are on TV or anything. They all support me and they always ask how I'm doing. They definitely see how much it means to me and they respect that.
ESPNHS: How has your father helped shape your career?
Elliott: There's not one thing I can narrow it down to, but just overall, him being there with me each weekend to support me is huge. His experience at some of these tracks goes back decades, so I try to take advantage of that.
ESPNHS: Besides your dad, who have been your role models in the sport?
Elliott: I've always been a big fan of Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Throughout their careers, especially Jimmie, the success he's had in recent years, those are the guys I love to watch. Hendrick Motorsports has such a great team and such experienced drivers, so whenever I'm fortunate enough to hang around with those guys I just soak in as much as I can.
ESPNHS: What's the hardest thing about competing against older drivers?
Elliott: I don't look at it that way. I just look at myself like another racer. Everybody's out there trying to win, and that's my goal, too. Once you get in the car, age goes out the window.
ESPNHS: What was a key turning point in your career?
Elliott: Winning the Snowball Derby (a 300-lap all-star race each December in Pensacola, Fla.) last year was really big for me. It's such a prestigious event with so many talented guys. It's hard just to be in contention at that race, and for things to play out in my favor to actually win was a great result.