NASCAR driver Chase Elliott had never been to the World of Coca-Cola before Wednesday, surprisingly. Even though his father, NASCAR legend and Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, had an affiliation with Coca-Cola when he was racing, Chase Elliott didn’t remember taking a trip downtown to see the museum.
That all changed Wednesday, though, as Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted a kickoff event with Elliott to prepare for the Ambetter Health 400 scheduled for later this month. The two-hour affair included a variety of family-friendly activities, racing simulators, a fan Q&A event and more.
Elliott, who has Coca-Cola as one of his sponsors, was joined on the tour by Brandon Hutchinson, the executive vice president and general manager of AMS.
“We are always excited when NASCAR comes to town, and to have Chase here with us today promoting the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m., Feb. 25, Fox) just makes it for a great day,” Hutchinson said. “It’s been fun having a relationship with Chase and seeing him be so successful. Any time we can see somebody who has meant so much to us have success is pretty cool.”
Last year was the first time Elliott didn’t win a race since 2017. However, the driver missed six races after he sustained a broken left leg in a snowboarding accident in early March and was suspended for another race for aggressive driving. Elliott also underwent right shoulder surgery in November because of a torn labrum — an injury he’s dealt with over the past 8-10 years.
Elliott said he doesn’t view 2023 as “all doom and gloom,” though, as it was a chance to learn many lessons. He believes the formula to snapping his 34-race winless streak is to be competitive every week and strong at all different types of tracks and configurations.
“I look at it as a new opportunity and chance to go try to do my job at a high level, and that’s what I set out to do every year,” Elliott said. “If you’re consistently putting yourself in contention … those opportunities are going to be there. You’re going to get your chances, and that’s where my head’s at this year is just trying to get in that mix and be amongst that group of guys that have opportunities to win every week.”
Elliott’s first win at AMS was at the Quaker State 400 in 2022. He’s excited for AMS to have two huge events this year.
Voted NASCAR’s most popular driver six times, Elliott sees racing in his home state as as much of a “home game” as a racer could have. And with the first of two races less than a month away, he can’t wait.
“Always had dreams and aspirations of racing on the big track when you’re on the little quarter-mile on the front straight away like, ‘man, I want to get there one day,’” Elliott said. “I don’t take that lightly, and it means a lot to be from here and I live here. I love the area, it’s really nothing more than that, it’s just home for me.”