Nascarhall Bill Elliott 2015 3
Bill Elliott drives in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1988. (NASCAR photo)

Ernie Elliott Named Smokey Yunick Award Recipient

CONCORD, N.C. — On Saturday morning, Ernie Elliott was named the latest recipient of the Smokey Yunick Award.

The lifetime achievement award is annually bestowed on someone who has made a contribution to NASCAR from humble beginnings. Former individuals who have earned the award are Andy Petree, Ray Evernham, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress. 

As an engine builder in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ernie’s path to success is certainly deserving of recognition, according to nephew Chase Elliott, who accepted the award on his behalf on Saturday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

“He was so far ahead of the curve and in so many different ways as he was not only building engines, but working on the cars back then when it wasn’t like they had engineering and software to go through these things. A lot of it was trial and error and you just had to do it on your own,” Chase said.

He added, “He has a lot of stories to tell, and a lot of them are worth listening to.”

Ernie’s prime time in the sport was during the 1980s, when he worked as an engine builder on younger brother Bill Elliott’s No. 9 Coors-sponsored car and powered much of the superspeedway success that the team enjoyed. 

Over the course of Ernie’s career, he won 40 Cup Series races, earned 148 top fives, 291 top 10s and 51 pole awards as an engine builder. He was named Engine Builder of the Year in 1985.