Hendrick Announces Fill-In-For Elliott Roster Of Drivers

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 8 2023

Chase Elliott won’t be taking any more checkered flags for a while. (File photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Hendrick Motorsports announced on Tuesday that Josh Berry will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet in Sunday’s United Rentals 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

Berry finished 29th in the machine normally piloted by Chase Elliott on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Elliott suffered a fractured left tibia on Friday while snowboarding in Colorado and is out indefinitely during his recovery. 

Berry will continue to fill the seat the following weekend when the Cup Series heads to Elliott’s home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway.  

IMSA driver Jordan Taylor has been selected to handle the driving chores of the No. 9 Camaro at the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas on Mar. 26th.

It’s unclear at this time when Elliott, the 2022 Cup champion, will return to action.

“We’re focused on getting Chase back to 100 percent,” team owner Rick Hendrick was quoted in the team release. “So we’ll take however much time is necessary and make sure he has the best resources available.”

Ironically, Chase’s father, Bill Elliott, suffered a similar injury while racing at the North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, N.C. during the second Cup event of the 1985 season. 

The elder Elliott, who had won the Daytona 500 a week prior to the incident at Rockingham, pulled off the unimaginable two weeks later when he won the Coca-Cola 500 at the track known at the time as Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) while driving with a broken left leg.

“The leg bothered me from 150 laps on,” Elliott said afterwards. “I couldn’t hardly keep it up and it was real hard to mash the brake and clutch. But I just hung on.” 


Kevin Harvick’s dominance at Phoenix International Raceway throughout his legendary career has been well-chronicled.

But a deep dive into his statistics at the 1-mile oval in the desert is nothing short of remarkable. 

Harvick, who is set to retire at season’s end when the circuit returns to Phoenix, has posted a record 9 Cup Series win at the track located in Avondale, Ariz. Consider that former fulltime Cup driver Jimmie Johnson is the next closest to Harvick with four career victories at the facility.

Just as impressive, the Bakersfield, Calif. native has logged 19 consecutive top-10 finishes at Phoenix, which is a NASCAR Cup Series record. Harvick was previously tied with Richard Petty who posted 18 consecutive top-10 finishes at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway during his illustrious career.


It’s been nearly a year since the freshly-paved, reimagined and slightly reconfigured 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway debuted hosted all three of NASCAR’s major touring series amidst the chatter of Daytona/Talladega pack-style racing. 

The speedway’s advance billing turned out to be accurate with all three races producing drafting and pack racing that resembled the two larger speedways located in neighboring Alabama and Florida.

Now that the asphalt has aged one year, will the Goodyear tires on cars and trucks that compete during next weekend’s NASCAR tripleheader find enough grip to duplicate the close-quarters racing we witnessed last season at the speed plant located 30 miles south of Atlanta in Hampton?

The guess here is yes. The biggest reason is that aside from record cold near the end of December for three days, the Atlanta area has experienced a very mild winter.

Harsh, cold weather over the course of several months tends to contribute to the wearing of the asphalt.

Thus, look for exciting high speed racing in tight packs to return to the high banks of Atlanta next weekend.


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 8 2023
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