DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia’s own Chase Elliott scored his first NASCAR Cup Series Championship with a win at the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway Sunday.
Elliott, who turns 25 later this month, has followed his father’s footsteps. Bill Elliott won the 1988 championship and was voted 16 times by the fans as NASCAR’s most popular driver.
Chase Elliott became the fan-favorite in 2018 after Earnhardt Jr. retired. He’s the first most popular driver to win the championship since his father won his only title.
And his popularity is soaring here in his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia. The town burst out in celebration Sunday night and also hosted a championship parade for Chase Elliott Monday afternoon.
“I don’t think there’s a hometown anywhere else in the United States that gets behind maybe one of their sports stars like we do in Dawsonville,” Michael Garrett said.
Garrett’s family has owned and run the Dawsonville Pool Room for more than 50 years. The place is synonymous with NASCAR racing ever since Chase’s dad “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” hit the scene.
“In the 80s when Bill started racing and started winning, he won the Winston Million. Then he won the NASCAR championship in ’88 and won multiple races and it really put Dawsonville, Georgia on the map,” Garrett said.
“Not only am I a big Chase Elliott fan, y’know me and him are friends too. So it just makes it that much more special."
The celebration wasn’t complete with the sounding of the siren. It’s a tradition Garrett’s grandfather Gordon Pirkle started in 1988.
“He just happened to come across a siren that he had laying around in the back building there behind the pool room. He plugged it up and he sounded the siren for the first time and every one of Bill Elliott’s wins he sounded the siren,” Garrett said.
It sounded again Sunday night for 1 hour and 41 minutes to honor Chase.
“Hopefully we’ll have many more times to ring it before we have to replace it," Garrett said.
The crowd then moves outside the pool room to celebrate outside in the parking lot. They were honking their horns and taking pictures.
Many people then drove through town waiving NASCAR flags and celebrating the win.
Cox Media Group