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article imageNASCAR: Chase Elliott to run for Nationwide title with NAPA

By Lizz Riggs     Jan 7, 2014 in Sports
Charlotte - The 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series looks bright for the young but talented driver, Chase Elliott, who has landed a ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s, JR Motorsports and a full-time sponsorship with NAPA.
Many know Elliott as the son of the 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, and Chase Elliott has the chance to carry on the legacy in the 2014 Nationwide Series at JRM, driving the No. 9 Chevrolet, his father's longtime number. Elliott is striving to become the fifth multi-generational NASCAR champion.
"No doubt the historical element of this is pretty cool," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "Bill Elliott is one of the greats. I've always looked up to him. He had some great battles with my dad. I think there are a lot of Elliott fans and Earnhardt fans that will take interest in Chase's career and support him 100 percent."
NAPA has been a long time NASCAR sponsor, but the company was on the verge of rebuking it's sponsorship last season, following the scandal surrounding Michael Waltrip Racing's attempt to manipulate a September race to get Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
NAPA has since decided to remain a NASCAR sponsor, but ended its multimillion-dollar sponsorship with MWR one year into a three-year contract extension with MWR. That cost Truex his ride at MWR and forced the organization to lay off about a third of its workforce.
While NAPA will no longer be sponsoring a MWR driver, they have decided to return for a 19th season in NASCAR, backing up Elliott in the Nationwide Series, who just became eligible to compete full-time in NASCAR, turning 18 this past November.
"NAPA is pleased to continue its long standing involvement in NASCAR, the most popular form of motorsports in the United States supported by its many loyal and passionate fans," said Dan Askey, president of NAPA. "Chase Elliott is a young and talented, future star in the sport and will represent NAPA well both on and off the track."
NAPA representatives declined interviews.
Elliott plans to make his Nationwide debut sporting the NAPA logo on his No. 9 car at the Feb. 22 season opening race at Daytona.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, a chance to make a career of this," Elliott told The Associated Press. "I couldn't ask for anything more than a chance with JR Motorsports, the backing of Rick Hendrick, and the support of NAPA. I think to have that connection with NAPA is really, really neat. The headquarters is not far from our house, and to me, that goes a lot further than you think. For both of us to come from Georgia, my home state, is special."
Learn more about Chase Elliott's racing career so far, who holds the title as the youngest superspeedway winner in ARCA.
"I think the Nationwide Series is only a short step for him," said JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. "He's that good."
"I hope they are understanding because this is a full-time job and one that will require me to be gone a lot — but second semester of senior year of high school? There's usually not a lot going on," Elliot said. "I hope that side of it is manageable because I really think I've been given a lot in this situation. I feel things are positioned here at the shop, with NAPA, everything is aligned for success."
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