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NASCAR: Chase Elliott sidelined by injury

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 05: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and crew chief Alan Gustafson meet on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 05, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott’s out for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, after he injured his leg in a snowboarding incident.

A leg injury puts Chase Elliott on the sideline for the foreseeable future. The NASCAR Cup Series’ reigning most popular driver and 2020 champion will miss Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, after he injured his left leg in a snowboarding incident in Colorado, Friday. Team Owner Rick Henrick stated,

“Chase’s health is our primary concern. He’s spoken with several members of our team and is understandably disappointed to miss time in the car. Of course, he has our full support, and we’ll provide any resources he needs.”

Hendrick Motorsports provided an update on Elliott’s health, Saturday. Team president, Jeff Andrews, told the media at the track that he underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured tibia. Andrews added that there’s no timeline for how long Elliott’s out of the car.

“At this point in time, we would expect this obviously to be several weeks. But beyond that, I don’t have a timeline to offer for you. We will obviously work with Chase and his doctors in the future to help determine that.”

HMS announced that Josh Berry will fill in for Elliott, Sunday. Which came down to a similar driving style and that Berry’s physically similar to him in size. Andrews added,

“Trying to find someone close to Chase’s size given the timing and what we had to work with here in getting him fitted in the car last night. Those were really the two main decisions around why we wanted to go with Josh.”

Naturally, however, Berry’s not a 1-to-1 match with Elliott. Especially in terms of “bucket” (which basically means seat/insert). Alan Gustafson, Elliott’s crew chief noted,

“Josh’s (Berry) bucket is the same as Alex’s (Bowman), but different from Chase’s (Elliott).”

Compounding the matter for HMS is that Saturday’s Cup Series practice and qualifying was his first time driving the NextGen car. And the results showed. He placed 29th fastest single lap in practice and third slowest 10-lap average speed. Furthermore, qualifying wasn’t an improvement, as he timed in 32nd. He was the second-slowest of those who turned a lap in qualifying.

The team submitted a playoff waiver request to NASCAR, which will allow Elliott to remain playoff eligible, despite missing a race or more. At press time, however, NASCAR hasn’t announced whether or not it granted him the waiver. Although past history indicates the league will approve the team’s waiver request.

Chase Elliott’s injury snaps his streak of 254 consecutive starts in the Cup Series, dating back to the 2016 Daytona 500. He entered the weekend at Las Vegas 14th in points. His runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway was the bright spot of a disappointing weekend for Hendrick Motorsports.

Featured Image Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images


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