Chase Elliott To Make Sprint Cup Series Debut In 2015

Chase Elliott To Make Sprint Cup Series Debut In 2015

by January 29, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit:Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

By: Hunter Thomas
Twitter: @HunterThomas08

CHARLOTTE, NC – Hendrick Motorsports announced on Thursday that Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Elliott will drive full-time in 2016 and compete in five races this season.

Elliott will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in a No. 25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, followed by Richmond International Raceway on April 25, Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26 and Darlington Raceway on September 6. Kenny Francis will serve as Elliott’s crew chief.

“So many people have been behind me, and the first thing I want to do is thank them,” Elliott said. “My parents especially have believed in me every step of the way, and I know this wouldn’t be possible without all the sacrifices they’ve made to focus on my racing career. This is such a big week for our family.

“I’m also extremely grateful to Mr. Hendrick and my teammates at both Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports for believing in me. NAPA has been a huge supporter, and I’m honored to represent them on and off the track. Of course the fans have been amazing to me, and I’m so appreciative of that. I know how rare this opportunity is and will work as hard as I can to make everyone proud.”

NASCAR has a four-car cap on teams, but in NASCAR’s rulebook, it mentions that a team can field a fifth car to enable a rookie driver to gain experience on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level for a maximum of seven races. With the 2015 season being Elliott’s introduction to the series, the rule applies, and that’s why he’s able to compete in a Hendrick Motorsports car.

In 2016, Elliott will pilot a No. 24 Chevrolet with Alan Gustafson on top of the pit box calling the shots as crew chief. Sponsorship for the 2016 season will be announced at a later date.

The decision to move Chase Elliott to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been highly anticipated among fans of the sport. When four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Jeff Gordon announced that the 2015 season was going to be his last full-time effort, rumors immediately started pointing towards Chase Elliott as a filler for the vacant spot in Hendrick Motorsports’ lineup.

“Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver,” Hendrick Motorsports owner, Rick Hendrick said. “Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there’s a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase’s personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors. He’s a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There’s a lot to be excited about.”

In addition to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series news, Elliott will try to defend his NASCAR XFINITY Series championship during the 2015 season while driving for JR Motorsports.

In his debut NASCAR XFINITY Series season last year competing for JR Motorsports, the 19-year old from Dawsonville, Ga. won the series title, as well as an event at Texas Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway. He also amassed an impressive 16 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes.

Chase Elliott has one of the most recognizable last names in all of NASCAR, so he’s certainly a favorite, especially among fans who favor the traditional aspects of the sport. His father, Bill Elliott who has 44 victories and one championship (1988) over a 37-year long history is set to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night in Charlotte.

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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