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Who's Taking Chase Elliott’s Place For Hendrick Motorsports While He’s Injured?
Chase Elliott will miss at least six weeks as his leg heals from a snowboarding accident.
Now that NASCAR star Chase Elliott has successfully undergone a three-hour surgery to repair a tibia he broke in a Colorado-based snowboarding accident last week, he’ll have a tough road ahead of him when it comes to making a full recovery. That said, no exercise or modality of rehabilitation will be more difficult than watching his replacements roar around multiple Cup Series tracks in his place.
Hendrick Motorsports announced that it will ride with Josh Berry, a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular who competes for JR Motorsports, an affiliate of the racing juggernaut. Berry piloted Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro at the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas. Ahead of his second consecutive race in the Cup Series, Berry’s embracing the challenge and ready to tackle Phoenix this weekend.
“I don’t know if I can say I got it figured out, but I mean, I learned a ton,” stated Berry after finishing 29th in Las Vegas, according to NASCAR.com. “I think we were on our way to a pretty good day before that [throttle] issue happened, so I’m not really sure if it was self-inflicted or not. I know these guys, they’re gonna look at the data and figure it out. But you know, regardless, I think it was a good experience and a lot of fun.”
Berry can count on much more fun behind the wheel as he’ll also race in all upcoming oval races that Elliott ends up missing, while Jordan Taylor, a veteran sports car driver who competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing, will be in the cockpit during the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on March 26.
Though he may be missing his captain, Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, says he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from both Berry and Taylor.
“We’re focused on getting Chase back to 100%, so we’ll take however much time is necessary and make sure he has the best resources available,” Rick Hendrick conveyed in a team release. “Josh was impressive this weekend [in Las Vegas] under difficult circumstances, and we look forward to having him drive the oval tracks until Chase is able to return. Jordan is a world-class road racer and has recently been working with our Garage 56 team preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’ll be able to step in and do a great job at COTA.”
If Elliott’s anticipated six weeks of recovery and physical therapy go according to plan, he could potentially return to compete in the Geico 500 April 23 at Talladega Superspeedway. His last victory at the legendary track came during the 2020 playoffs, the same year he won the Cup Series championship.
As a fiercely determined competitor, missing additional races than are absolutely necessary is not a palatable course of action for Elliott, so that date will be a glaring target on his calendar. Before having to sit out the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas — his first absence in his full-time Cup Series career — Elliott was a bit of an iron man when it came to not missing racing events, a la Cal Ripken Jr. Since the Daytona 500 in 2016, Elliott had made 254 starts. In that time, he stacked up 18 wins, advanced to the Championship Four three times and hoisted the coveted Cup Series trophy once.