Chase Elliott will make his 300th NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600.

Elliott is the second Hendrick Motorsports driver to reach this mark in the last month. Teammate Alex Bowman made his 300th start at Dover Motor Speedway in April. The 28-year-old driver from Dawsonville, Georgia, native has only driven for team owner Rick Hendrick in the sport’s top series and would love to be able to do that for the entirety of his career.

“I don’t know how long my career will go, but I would love to spend it all here,” Elliott told HendrickMotorsports.com. “This has been the only home I have ever known in my NASCAR career, which is really cool. I owe everything I have to Rick (Hendrick), the opportunities and my life, just every bit. It’s been a lot of fun. To be able to call one place home and drive for one guy is a big deal to me. 300 (starts) is wild to think about with a 38-race season. We’ve been around longer than you think.

Entering Sunday’s race, Elliott has 19 wins, 98 top-five finishes, 158 top-10s, 12 poles and 5,226 laps led in the Cup Series. He won the 2020 Cup Series championship and reached the Championship 4 in three consecutive seasons (2020-22).  Elliott has been paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson for his entire full-time Cup career.

Elliott’s path to Hendrick Motorsports was assisted by a friend of Hendrick’s, James Finch, a one-time car owner in the Cup Series and a staple of the grassroots series.

“It’s been about 12 years since my relationship with Rick (Hendrick) began,” Elliott said. “At the time, I was racing down in Pensacola (Florida) a lot, south Alabama and the Panama City area. Through happenstance, James (Finch) spent a lot of time with Eddie Mercer, who ran a lot of Super Late Model races back then. I was racing against him and we were fortunate to be successful and running well. James was around, he was watching and he saw it. My understanding was he had mentioned something about me to Rick a couple of times. They had some conversation and then Rick reached out to Dad (Bill Elliott) about wanting to sit down and meet.

“I got out of school one day and we came up here. The boss picked us up from the airport and came over here. It was late, after hours and nobody was here. He gave us a tour of the facility and showed us around. We went and sat down in his office. He said, ‘I don’t know how to help, but I want to help and let’s just see where it goes.’ That was it. We just had a brief conversation and off we went. He started helping a little bit here and a little bit there.

“Fortunately, all the stars aligned. Jeff (Gordon) was stepping away (after the 2015 season). Thanks to Rick and his involvement at JR Motorsports, we had a couple of good years in (NASCAR) Xfinity (Series). NAPA coming on board when they did. All the stars have aligned but it originated with James, his relationship with the boss and being around the Southeast when we were late model racing. Those are the years that opened up the door to be here.”

During a two-year stint that saw Elliott drive for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports and win the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, he made five Cup starts in 2015 for team owner Rick Hendrick in the No. 25 Chevrolet. From 2016 to 2017, Elliott drove the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet. His first event in the No. 24 saw him win the pole position for the DAYTONA 500. In 2018, he moved over to the No. 9 Chevrolet — a number with significant ties to the Elliott family as his dad, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill, drove that number for most of his career. After eight runner-up finishes in the Cup ranks, Chase scored his first Cup Series win at Watkins Glen International.

“It was a memorable day and one that I’ll never forget,” Elliott recalled of the victory at the New York road course. “Your first win — at least for us — was hard to get. We had a tough road to that first win. It meant a lot to us because of that.”

Elliott posted back-to-back three-win seasons in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, Elliott won twice in the regular season and came on strong in the playoffs with three wins in the final five races. A victory at Martinsville Speedway advanced the driver of the No. 9 into the Championship 4 for the first time and a win at Phoenix Raceway earned him his first championship.

“The week between Martinsville (Speedway) and Phoenix (in 2020) was just wild,” Elliott said. “Just how fast everything shifted from being on the outside looking in to going to Phoenix and having a shot. We were hot at the right time and it worked out well for us. That was a big day for us because that is what you set out to do every year and there is only one guy who gets to go home and feel like the job is actually done. It was an extremely special moment and a really big deal.”

The 2021 season saw Elliott win twice and again reach the Championship 4. In 2022, he won a series-best five times and earned the regular-season championship. A fractured tibia led to Elliott missing six races and not reaching the driver playoffs for the first time in his career. He did guide the No. 9 team to the Round of 8 in the owner playoffs. This season has seen the 28-year-old driver reach victory lane with a win at Texas Motor Speedway and showcase his championship-caliber form.

Heading into Charlotte, Elliott has one win (May of 2020), three runner-up finishes, five top-fives, six top-10s and 338 laps led in 12 starts at the 1.5-mile track. Seven drivers have won in their 300th Cup Series start and Elliott is looking to become the eighth. Tune in to watch his 300th start on Sunday, May 26, at 6 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

— Hendrick Motorsports —

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