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Chase Elliott set to make USAC midget debut this weekend

Reigning NASCAR Cup champ Chase Elliott sits down with Steve Letarte to consider the surreal support from his hometown, why he wants to enjoy winning moments more, and why he's looking forward to the Bristol Dirt Race.

NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott will get one more taste of dirt racing before he starts his title defense at the Daytona 500.

USAC announced Monday that Elliott will compete in its season-opening weekend for the NOS Energy Drink National Midget Championship on Friday and Saturday at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.

Elliott will drive the No. 84 entry for CB Motorsports and team with 2020 series champion Chris Windom. The events will mark his USAC midget racing debut.

Elliott made his dirt racing debut in December at Millbridge (N.C.) Speedway in the Carolina Midget Showdown, an event that also included fellow Cup drivers Kyle Larson and rookie Chase Briscoe.

After that, Elliott went on to make his debut in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals last month in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I’ve been talking to Chase ever since he started doing a little bit of midget stuff,” CB Industries team owner Chad Boat said in a USAC release. “After Chili Bowl, he was looking to do a little bit more to get ready for Chili Bowl in 2022.

“I think it just made sense with us being down here close to what he’s doing for his other work. It just made sense for him that it would be a good place for him to come over and do it.”

This weekend will cap off a busy off-season for Elliott, who’s pursued his desires to explore other forms of racing.

Along with his appearances in midget racing, he’s also competed in the Snowball Derby super late model race and, this past weekend, made his sports car debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

His No. 31 Action Express Racing team finished sixth in the flagship DPi class, with Elliott himself showing steady improvement over his multiple stints on the track.

Elliott will also see the dirt in his Hendrick Motorsports Cup car this March at Bristol Motor Speedway, as part of the first Cup race on dirt since the 1970 season.