NASCAR: Chase Elliott Drove For A Special Cause In Bristol

15-17 April, 2016, Bristol, Tennessee USAChase Elliott (24)©2016, John Harrelson / NKP
15-17 April, 2016, Bristol, Tennessee USAChase Elliott (24)©2016, John Harrelson / NKP /

Sunday was a special day in Bristol for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott.

As the laps wound down Sunday in Bristol the buzz around Chase Elliott steadily grew. The driver of the No. 24 machine for Hendrick Motorsports had some ups and downs early in the race but his car was fast as the right time as the race came to a close. Elliott appeared to gain confidence inside of the car on each of the final 60 or so laps as he charged towards to front of the field.

On the second-to-last restart, Elliot started outside of the leader and made fans wonder if this was going to be his moment. Although Elliott did not win on Sunday (his car was not as strong on the final two restarts) he did post his best finish (4th) of his young NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Sunday’s 4th-place finished topped his previous best (5th) which he scored in Texas last weekend.

While his success on the track on Sunday is what most NASCAR fans will remember, Sunday was special for another reason for Elliott and the No. 24 team.

In Bristol the No. 24 machine was sponsored by Kelley Blue Book in correlation with the start of their #DriveSmart Distracted Driving program, which kicked off on the Friday before Bristol. Elliott has joined the campaign and taken the pledge to help get the message out there to stop distracted driving in this country.

Distracted driving continues to be a significant issue on our roadways, killing more than 3,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands more each year. As part of the campaign, Kelley Blue Book challenges everyone to take the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” pledge on and commit to being a safe, distraction-free driver.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involved some form of driver distraction and that drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Millennial drivers report the highest rates of texting (74 percent) and checking social media sites (36 percent). But Baby Boomers are the leaders when it comes to talking on phones while driving with 87 percent reporting the activity, followed by Gen X at 83 percent and Millennials at 76 percent.

On Friday Beyond The Flag had the opportunity to speak with Elliott about the program and how fans can get involved.

"It’s a great cause and a great program. KBB is just trying to raise awareness for distracted driving. It certainly is a big issue amongst drivers on our roads in the United States (and really worldwide) but here for sure. The safety and the awareness is so important.The most popular thing there is obviously being on your phone but it goes further than that. Just trying to grow that level of focus and safety every time that people get into a vehicle. KBB is just trying to grow that awareness for people to make our roads a safer environment."

If you want to get involved with the program and pledge your support for the cause, Chase Elliott and his personal pledge; Elliott strongly encourages you to do so. You can get involved by visiting the Kelley Blue Book website to learn more about the cause and to take your own personal pledge to match Elliott’s.