Contributed by David Elliott Jr.
Rookie Baby Grand racer #81 David Elliott, Jr. is having a heck of a debut racing season at Alaska Raceway Park – so far with five first place finishes, one second, and one third. David discovered his grandfather’s and father’s racing genes are alive and well in him.
The manager of Extreme Fun Center in Wasilla, David had never raced anything before he got into a baby grand this year, at age 23, to race ARP’s new asphalt oval. David’s father, Dave Elliott, is an oval racer in the Late Model class who also drag raced long ago. In fact, David is a third-generation racer. He said it’s always been his dream since childhood to be a NASCAR racer, and he’s very happy to learn he’s a natural at it. In the past the family moved to Las Vegas so father, Dave, could work for NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, who races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
When asked what he loves most about racing at Alaska Raceway Park, David responded, “The view is the best thing in the world. When you are going around for the parade laps, slowly enough to take it all in, it blows your mind. My screensaver on my phone is a view of the track. I love being out there. The track is so nice. It’s the best facility in Alaska, and I’ve heard that from other people too.”
David chose to race Baby Grands because his dad is the owner of Alaska Racer Supply and the dealer for Baby Grand race cars. “I wanted to jump into a Late Model right away,” David said, “But Dad wanted me to start off smaller. I went to the first practices and test and tunes and figured out the car. The very first weekend I ended up getting sponsored by John, my boss at Extreme Fun Center.”
Expecting to go out and putt around and feel what the car could do, David realized he could really drive and understand the track and in fact that he could legitimately race against pals like longtime racer, Alex Schwochert, who has been racing since he was a kid and is currently two feature wins away from a career 100 wins. Now David is addicted to the awesome feeling of racing and competing. Alex and David’s dads both raced the oval at North Star Speedway, which closed in 2012.
David’s dad is his biggest support for him on the track, and he said that’s been one of the best parts of racing. He lost his grandfather, Bob, on July 2, right after the Tesoro race. David said, “I swept the day, dropped off the car, and found out my grandpa passed away. Grandpa was big into trials motorcycling racing in his youth. Last thing Grandpa saw was me, out there winning.”
Recently too another family member, Pops, passed away. Pops was also a huge race fan and used to race in the Lower 48. David said, “Last time I saw him was two weeks ago at Alaska Raceway Park. They were both represented on my car this weekend. It was an emotional weekend for Dad and me, but we got through it. I took Grandpa and Pops for a hell of a ride. Pops’s last words to me were, ‘Damn, you can wheel that car!’” His most recent first place finish was on August 6, 2016 in a 20-lap feature race in a field of four cars. He beat #11 Alex Schwochert and #63 Brad Generous. David will have two more chances this season to prove his mettle on the oval behind the wheel of the #81.
For young people ages 14-17 who are interested in NASCAR asphalt oval racing, this season NASCAR is offering a $500 cash prize and a $500 scholarship to the highest-ranking youth at our track. We are encouraging anyone in that age bracket to contact us through raceak.com or on Facebook.