Chase Elliott can’t yet tell how Chevrolet’s new Camaro ZL1 entry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will fare against the competition but he is certain of one thing – it sure looks good.
“Behind the wheel it’s really hard to tell what changes are when you are out there by yourself,” Elliott said Tuesday during a break in a Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “I think the changes will probably become more apparent, hopefully, when we get to say Atlanta or get to some of the tracks that the changes are going to become important at.
“I think it won’t be until we get into those situations and kind of get some races under our belt, not only an organization but as a manufacturer as a whole, that we’ll see exactly how we stack up.
“It will be tough to say until then.”
Regardless, Elliott, the 22-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, said the car should be a hit aesthetically.
“The car looks great. I don’t know from a manufacturer standpoint (or) from the public eyes standpoint, I don’t know how you could not identify the Camaro with the Camaro on the street,” he said.
“It looks the same. I think that is something to be very proud of from Chevrolet; the work they did on that and the thought process behind it. It is the same car, it looks just like it. I think job well done from that standpoint.”
Elliott is set to enter his third full-time season in the Cup series with Hendrick Motorsports still looking for his first series victory.
Elliott qualified for the Cup series playoffs for the first time in 2017 and finished a career-best fifth in the series standings. He finished second on five different occasions during the season.
Same team, different number
Elliott will also change to driving the No. 9 Chevrolet this season, a nod to the racing legacy of his family.
“Frankly, I think our preparation over the past two years has been really good. I believe in the process of how we do things in our team and what was the No. 24 team and now the No. 9 team,” he said.
“I think Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) has done a great job of building a consistent week-by-week approach to the races and how we prepare on Tuesday’ to how we debrief after races (and) putting the amount of effort that needs to go into certain areas to improve performance.
“I was very proud of our team and the way we ran in the final 10 weeks last year. There wasn’t one person that thought we were going to do what we did in the last 10 weeks. I think that is something to be proud of.”