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March 7, 2023

Hendrick Motorsports announces fill-in drivers for Elliott, expected to miss six weeks

Josh Berry is set to once again fill in for Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Phoenix Raceway as the 2020 series champion remains sidelined with an injury, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday evening.

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With Elliott slated to miss his second straight race in Sunday’s United Rentals Work United 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) following an injury to his left leg while snowboarding in Colorado last Friday, Hendrick will once again turn to Berry. The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular, who drives for Hendrick affiliate JR Motorsports, replaced Elliott in the No. 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Sunday, finishing 29th in his Next Gen debut.

“I don’t know if I can say I got it figured out, but I mean, I learned a ton,” Berry said after Sunday’s race in Las Vegas. “I think we were on our way to a pretty good day before that (throttle) issue happened, so I’m not really sure if it was self-inflicted or not. I know these guys, they’re gonna look at the data and figure it out. But you know, regardless, I think it was a good experience and a lot of fun.”

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In addition to Phoenix, Hendrick announced that Berry will also be behind the wheel for all oval races that Elliott misses. Sports car veteran Jordan Taylor will pilot the No. 9 at Circuit of The Americas. Taylor currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing.

“We’re focused on getting Chase back to 100%, so we’ll take however much time is necessary and make sure he has the best resources available,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, in a team release. “Josh was impressive this weekend under difficult circumstances, and we look forward to having him drive the oval tracks until Chase is able to return. Jordan is a world-class road racer and has recently been working with our Garage 56 team preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’ll be able to step in and do a great job at COTA.”

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Elliott underwent successful surgery Friday evening and is expected to return to the car when medically cleared. The team indicated it is anticipating his recovery will be another six weeks.

Prior to Vegas, Elliott had not previously missed a start in his full-time Cup Series career. Dating back to the 2016 Daytona 500, he had made 254 consecutive starts. He won 18 times during that stretch and, in addition to his 2020 title, advanced to the Championship 4 in 2021 and 2022.