NASCAR Driver Chase Elliott Is Also A Pilot – And Flies Himself To Races On Weekends

Chase Elliott
Aviate Alabama

Flying on the racetrack AND flying the friendly skies.

Chase Elliott has been voted NASCAR‘s Most Popular Driver for the last six years in a row, and he also won the Cup Series championship back in 2020 to solidify his place among the best in the sport.

But the #9 car for Hendrick Motorsports isn’t Elliott’s only badass vehicle: He’s also a pilot, and even flies himself to the racetrack.

I’ll be honest, I’m a pretty big NASCAR fan but somehow I had no idea that Elliott was a pilot. But apparently he got his pilot’s license back in 2015, which he discussed during an appearance this week on the Dale Jr. Download podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

According to Chase, he was inspired to get into flying by his father and fellow race car driver Bill Elliott, who has had his pilot’s license for decades.

“I don’t know that I would have ever really found aviation if dad hadn’t been so involved in it. So I grew up with a different vantage point on it and that was how he did things.”

And he said that taking flying lessons was a way for him to continue to challenge and improve himself after he decided to pursue a career in racing instead of going to college:

“I didn’t go to college. I got out of high school that second semester and I came up here and started racing out of this building.

The flying thing for me has always been just a way for me to continue to challenge my mind and to try and better myself in an educational way. Kind of to supplement the fact that I didn’t go to college and I didn’t go to school. And I just feel like it’s, if I don’t feel like I’m challenging my brain in some way shape or form, I feel like I’m just wasting away.

I feel like I’ve got to be doing something to make myself think, and if I’m not doing that, I’m just rotting away in my mind.

I think it’s a form of education because I didn’t go to school.”

But he also sees aviation as a fallback plan if his racing career ever fell through:

“If the racing thing blew up tomorrow I feel like I could have something to go do, and also I feel like it betters you mentally just to make you think about things a little differently, and keep up with the weather, know what the performance is when you go to take off somewhere when it’s hot and the altitude is high. Yeah, I just enjoy that side of things. It makes you think.”

Of course it also has the added benefit of allowing Chase to get himself to and from the racetrack on his own schedule – as well as move back to his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia and fly to the team’s shop in Charlotte, North Carolina when he needs to.

Most teams charter their own planes to get their team and drivers to the track. But Elliott doesn’t have a need for that, because he can fly his own plane himself – something that Dale Jr. is a fan of:

“We’ll be at a race, or I’ll be at a race doing the NBC stuff, and get out of the racetrack and go to the airport and get in the plane and I’ll look over and you’re in the cockpit of your plane by yourself, gonna fly home. And I’m like, ‘Damn, that is a DUDE right there, man.'”

Gotta be nice to have your own personal plane ready to go – and be able to just hop in it and fly it yourself.

Here’s a video of Elliott taking off from Alabama in his Cessna Citation jet (with tail number, appropriately, N9CE) last year after a race at Talladega:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock