With the official entry lists out, the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 car is without a driver. Chase Elliott‘s replacement for Phoenix is a mystery. This past week in Las Vegas, Josh Berry filled in on short notice. He had some throttle issues and finished P29 on the day.
This week, whoever is the replacement will at least get time in the simulator and more preparation than Berry had. The JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver is not out of contention by any means. However, now that they have more time to consider things, Hendrick has to make a decision that benefits them as well.
Chase Elliott’s replacement will likely be named in the coming days. For now, there is a big TBA next to the No. 9 car. Here is the entry list via Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports.
There is a general belief that Chase Elliott will be given a playoff waiver for missing races. So, he’s going to be able to compete and try to earn his way into the playoffs with a win. Still, there is a lot to be said about team points and the owner’s championship. That’s where the real money is made.
Having a driver that can keep pace with the Cup Series field is a big deal. But you have to find a driver that has the time and can fit into the Chevy family, too. Not an easy task to replace Elliott with anyone, let alone under these limited parameters.
Chase Elliott Was Missed During Hendrick’s Dominance in Las Vegas
After William Byron won the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday, it was clear that Hendrick Motorsports didn’t come to play. Finishing P2 and P3 were Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman. Both drivers had a shot at winning the race at one point in the night.
Byron only had Chase Elliott on his mind after he took the checkered flag. With such a strong finish, one can only imagine if Chase had been in the race too.
“It’s all about the team, so. It’s a great pit crew. Thinking of Chase back home. Wish he was out here with us. You know, he’s a great racecar driver, great teammate. So, wish he was out here,” Byron said on the track.
We might see a few replacements for Chase Elliott while the driver is injured. Hendrick Motorsports will try to keep that 9 car moving fast while they wait for the 2020 champ to make his return.