The NASCAR community was caught off guard as news broke on Friday, March 3, 2023 that Chase Elliott would be sitting out for the Penzoil 400 in Las Vegas that weekend. At first, the reasoning behind the accident was listed as an undisclosed leg injury that required surgery which took place later that night.
You Need To Know:
- Sometime during the day on Friday March 3, 2023, Chase Elliott received a leg injury that we now know was a fractured tibia. The injury occurred during a snowboarding accident in Colorado. NASCAR’s raining and undisputed Most Popular Driver was subsequently rushed to a Colorado hospital where he received successful surgery later that evening.
- Working very quickly in response to this unfortunate news regarding their star driver’s injury, Hendrick Motorsports quickly nabbed Josh Berry from HMS’s feeder program in JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series to pilot the #9 Napa Chevy in Las Vegas. In making the decision, HMS executives expressed the urgency of the situation and stated that they wanted to find with a similar bid to Chase. The executives then thanked JRM owners, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelly Earnhardt-Miller, for allowing their driver of the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Camero to help them out this weekend.
- Since Chase Elliott is NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, the story had a lot of fan reaction online. Many fans asked HMS why they would allow their star pupil to engage in such risky extracurricular activities such as snowboarding. HMS responded to this with a statement stating that they have no plans to limit their driver’s extracurricular activities, stating that they deserve lives outside of the sport. In the update press conference held at 9 AM Pacific Time Saturday morning, Hendrick Motorsports stated that there is no timetable for Elliotts return, though they expect his absence in the No. 9 car to last no fewer than “several weeks”.
While there is no official timetable for Chase’s return to the Cup Series, it will be interesting to see how Josh Berry does making his third Cup Series start and first in the NextGen Car. He rolls off 32nd.
The Main Characters
Just before the green flag flew for the Cup Race as Las Vegas, original driver of the No. 9 took to Twitter. Here he shows off his since of humor, demanding for a rewrite.
He then dilled back on the joke cracking for a more serious post, thanking for all the support he’s gotten, and wishing his No. 9 Napa team and Josh Berry luck during the race.
Josh Berry, driver of the JRM No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevy in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will fill Elliott’s shoes on Sunday, making his third Cup start and first in the now year-old NextGen car. He finished 5th in the Xfinity race on Saturday.
Hendrick Motorsports had to act fast in getting the ride filled for Sunday. This is when they initally broke the story.
Saturday morning, just after the 9AM press conference, they gave an update on Elliott’s condition. While he did receive successful surgery, there is currently no timetable for his return.
HMS’s No. 9 team preparing with their replacement driver, Josh Berry, had to be a big adjustment. But the show must go on, as they say, and Alan Gustafson is pumped and ready to get the race underway.
Hendrick announces Josh Berry will continue in the 9 car for ovals. Jordan Taylor will race at COTA as Chase Elliott heals. Elliott is expected to miss 6 weeks, per Hendrick Motorsports.
Around The Garage
Former 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., took to Twitter on Sunday to provide all the Elliott fans some hope.
Long-time Elliott rival, Kevin Harvick, who is in his last full-time season in the Cup Series, reacts to the unfortunate circumstances around Elliott in an interview with Front Stretch on YouTube.
Driver of the No. 23 Toyota for 23XI Racing defends Chase Elliott after some mild backlash online questioning his extra curricular activities.
Kyle Larson comments on how Chase Elliott’s absence will affect Hendrick Motorsports as an organization.
Auto Club race winner, Kyle Busch, offers his support to Chase Elliott.
From the Officials
Update: March 7
Elton Sawyer, Senior Vice President of Competition for NASCAR, told SiriusXM, “I wouldn’t see any reason that he wouldn’t be granted a waiver, but we’ll go through that process and make sure we’re checking all the boxes.”
In The Stands
NFL NASCAR Analyst indicates that NASCAR would never deny their Most Popular Driver a playoff waiver. Is it even worth discussing?
Nick Johnson points out that Kyle Busch’s playoff waiver in 2015 was not instantaneous.
Lisa Lee agonized over Elliott’s injury but, for this race, will throw her whole support behind Josh Berry.
Chad Ritchie wishes Chase Elliott the best, though he is very excited to see the talented Josh Berry get his shot in top-notch equipment. Who isn’t?
Diana is excited to not only see Chase Elliott back in a racecar but also back to his winning ways ASAP!
Josh predicts that Chase Elliott might just pull a Rowdy amid his return.
Missy Rae is no Elliott fan…but, beside herself, she wishes him a speedy recovery.
A funny tweet in response to Elliott’s script rewriting tweet from Tyler Reamer.
On Your Screen
Iceberg was quick to post a video after the Chase Elliott story originally broke.
JettMDK updates the story as Chase Elliott will be out for several weeks. He also begs the question: What’s next?
OOTG breaks the Elliott story immediately following its inital announcement.
From The Pressbox
As per NASCAR on FOX reporter, Bob Pockrass, NASCAR will not make a decision on the Chase Elliott situation until he is medically cleared to compete. In order for a driver to make the NASCAR Playoffs, they must attempt all regular season races unless a waiver is approved.
It is important to note, however, that prior to the 2023 season, NASCAR took out the top-30 rule, meaning that essentially all full-time drivers, no matter where they sit in the standings, is eligible for the NASCAR Playoffs.
We at the Daily Downforce will be following this story closely and will provide updates as soon as they come available. We would like to wish Chase Elliott a super speedy recovery and we can’t wait to see him back out on the track.