Hendrick Motorsports will employ two drivers to fill in for Chase Elliott, who will be sidelined from NASCAR Cup Series competition for approximately six weeks.
Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series champion, is recovering from surgery after fracturing his tibia in a snowboarding accident in Colorado last Friday. Josh Berry, who raced Elliott’s No. 9 to a 29th place finish in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, will continue to fill-in on ovals. Jordan Taylor, two-time champion in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will handle the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on March 26.
“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,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Josh was impressive this weekend 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.”
Elliott, 27, is in his eighth full season in the Cup Series. He has taken the checkered flag 18 times in 259 starts and finished 2022 as the regular season champion. He finished as runner-up to Kyle Busch in the Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Feb. 26.
Chase Elliott Replacement Drivers Lack Experience
Berry, a five-time winner in the Xfinity Series, said he had a “lot of fun” in his first time driving a Next Gen car.
“Honestly, it was a lot of fun,” Berry said after the race. “Really the first half of the race went, I thought pretty well. We were really close, just right on the edge of staying on the lead la or not. Just needed a couple more cautions just to give ourselves a better chance.
“The second half of the race, we have an issue going on with the throttle or the throttle body or something. Because whenever I was letting off, it was hanging wide open and that was – kinda after that honestly I was just kinda, trying to nurse it home and keep it out of trouble.”
Taylor shared his excitement on Twitter, albeit under tough circumstances.
“So honored to be asked by @TeamHendrick to fill in for Chase at Circuit of the Americas in the #9 car,” Taylor tweeted. “It is going to be a heck of a learning curve, but I hope we can make him proud while he’s recovering.”