CONCORD, N.C. — New spotter, no sweat for Chase Elliott.
After Eddie D‘Hondt‘s indefinite suspension from NASCAR earlier this week, Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team were tasked with a quick-turn find for the open position in time for the Charlotte Motor Speedway race weekend.
Elliott chose to keep it in the family, picking cousin Trey Poole to fill the role for Sunday‘s Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“He‘s been around our team for a long time,” Elliott said Friday night after NASCAR Cup Series practice. “Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) likes how he goes about spotting in the road-course races that he‘s done. Having some history racing I think is a good thing in a spotter to have. It‘s just different being in the car versus just watching, so he has some experience. He‘s been watching this stuff forever, so he knows how it works.”
Poole has raced Legend cars in his past driving days and helped the team for several years on road courses where more than one spotter is a necessity. Elliott has won all five races Poole has assisted as an additional set of eyes.
Elliott noted asking his father, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, to fill the void was a passing thought. But between other obligations and doubts he would even want to accept the job, Elliott chose to go the Poole route.
Poole already has one race under his belt this weekend after spotting for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Austin Hill and the No. 16 Hattori Racing team Friday night. Hill earned a ninth-place finish.
Elliott was happy to see Poole get a full race at Charlotte in the books before he takes over the reins Sunday night and had planned on talking to Poole after the Truck Series race to prepare.
“The biggest things are helping me with the things I can‘t see,” Elliott said. “That I‘m not hearing or I can‘t figure out on my own. A lot of a spotting job is just keeping the logistics in order throughout a race. When pit road opens. When we‘re coming to one to go. The timing of all that stuff is important.”
Although it‘s not Poole‘s first go-around in the Cup Series, Elliott acknowledges it‘ll be a different ball game for him. But the relationship they have puts them a step ahead.
“Obviously, he knows me very well,” Elliott said. “He just fits into our group and he knows everybody. That goes a long way when you‘re trying to fill a role quickly like that.
“He doesn‘t have to talk much to do a good job and I think that‘s the bottom line.”