The Marty Smith Podcast: Chase Elliott Talks Earliest Memories of Daytona

by TK Sanders

The 2020 NASCAR Cup series Champion Chase Elliott joined Outsider’s own Marty Smith on his podcast down in Daytona ahead of the Great American Race tomorrow.

Marty kicked off the interview with his usual energy and enthusiasm, noting that the Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s great annual “coming out” party after a few sleepy months of racing hibernation.

“It feels like coming home,” Marty said. “Yeah, it does,” Elliott replied.

When asked what makes Daytona so special, Elliott said that the entire week is just one long, exciting event with tons of energy and enthusiasm. Besides its annual allure, this Daytona 500 is especially sweet because NASCAR was able to lift all COVID capacity restrictions. As a result, the event completely sold out weeks in advance.

“It’s the start of our season,” Elliott said. “The energy that’s here is always exciting. I feel like there’s a lot of energy here this week that I haven’t seen in the past three or four years, and that’s exciting, too. There’s a lot of people here camping out, and you notice those things, you can feel that.

“It’s just a great way to start our season. This place is special, and it always will be.”

Chase Elliott loved to play at Daytona long before he got paid to do so

Marty then asked Elliott about his earliest memories from Daytona. His answer proves just how long the son of retired NASCAR great Bill Elliott has been hanging around the high-octane sport.

“I tell people this all the time, but my earliest memory is that [Daytona] always had the nicest playground here as a kid,” Elliott laughed, reminiscing on his days as a youngster on the circuit. “The playground here is killer. And as a kid going around all the racetracks, you remember those things. The playground always stood out.”

Elliott went on to say that he didn’t go to every track as a kid. But as for the ones he did visit, Daytona stands out the most for how much fun he had playing.

“Man, I don’t know who designed that thing over there, but they did a good job,” Elliott said with a smile.

“What was your ‘go-to,’ like was it the hobby horse or maybe the seesaw?” cohost Wes Blankenship asked.

“I was more of a monkey bars guy back in the day,” Elliott admitted.

And as for the worst playground on the circuit? Elliott wouldn’t say, but he did share another childhood memory about the time he unexpectedly lost the best seat in the house — again, on a playground.

“Atlanta had a killer playground, too, and it was actually a great place to go watch the race,” Elliott recounted. “But it was kind of broke, so you could climb on the outside of the playhouse and get on top of it. Turns out it was a great place to watch the race. It sat you above most of the things in the infield.

“And then one year they took it down. I came back and was just completely devastated. My seat was gone! Bad day.”

Tune in tomorrow on FOX to see if Chase Elliott and his No. 9 Hendrick team has a better day as they go for the checkered flag, live from Daytona. The race begins at 2:30 ET.

The Marty Smith Podcast is live now and can be heard wherever you get your podcasts.