Chase Elliott pays tribute to late cousin with Darlington paint scheme

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Most of the drivers who race tribute paint schemes honor familiar names who competed at the top level of the sport.

But Chase Elliott wanted to honor a member of his family many people might not know. Chase himself didn't know him.

Elliott will drive a car with a paint scheme in September at Darlington Raceway that pays tribute to his cousin Casey, who died following a two-year battle with cancer at age 21 in January 1996.

Chase, born just two months prior to Casey's death, will drive a paint scheme that commemorates Casey's paint scheme from what was then known as the Winston All-Pro Series in 1993, a series in which Casey had eight top-10 finishes in 22 starts.

Casey, who also made two starts in what is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was the son of renowned engine builder Ernie Elliott. Ernie Elliott is the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, the father of Chase.

"It's an opportunity to honor a great family member," Chase Elliott said Tuesday night after the car's unveiling on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. "Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to get to know Casey. A lot of people don't know about his history in racing or him coming along.

"He was pretty good. ... It's not just about my dad or myself. There was another Elliott that was racing. I think it is only fair to share that. I have always heard a lot of great stories about him."

Bill Elliott said Casey was someone people would look up to, and he remembered trying to cheer up Casey during his cancer battle and that Casey would end up cheering up everyone else.

"Things move forward, but I appreciate Chase thinking about it and never knowing Casey and never knowing how he was; just putting this in perspective of honoring him is a great deal for the family," Ernie Elliott said.

"It's really a good honor, a good tribute. ... He was a good kid."

Looking over at the commemorative paint scheme, Chase Elliott might have forgotten for a moment about a somewhat frustrating season in which he sits 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.

"There is a heck of a lot more to life than where we are in the playoff standings right now, and this is one of those [perspective] moments," he said.