Chase Elliott’s NASCAR Cup Series future with Hendrick Motorsports is secure for another five years. At least.
Already a part of the “family” for seven years, the 2020 Cup champion could be in line for a career-long run with “The Boss,” Rick Hendrick.
The two appear close enough that they likely will eventually laugh off Elliott’s poor post-deal performance.
During a Daytona 500 pit stop, Elliott stalled out.
With Chase Elliott signed, Hendrick Motorsports has a dynasty-in-the-making stable of drivers
With 2021 Cup champion Kyle Larson, 29 years old, Alex Bowman, 28, and William Byron, 24, Hendrick Motorsports looks like it can continue its driving dynasty into the next decade.
Since 1984, Hendrick entered the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 with 16 drivers’ championships and 339 race wins.
Rick Hendrick joked in the past about signing the 26-year-old Elliott, the series’ most popular driver the past four seasons, to a lifetime contract. Is it a joke?
“The boss, I’ve told a lot of people this, but he really did change my life,” Elliott told Fox Sports 1 during a prerace broadcast. “Feels really good to be in a place I’ve called home for, you know, this is my seventh year in Cup, which is kind of crazy. Mr. Hendrick and I started this relationship when I was like 15 years old.
“It’s kind of nuts.”
Elliott stalls machine during pit spot, falls back in Daytona 500 pack
A second-generation driver, Elliott grew up around NASCAR. With his deal, he will be around for a lot longer.
If he handles his pit stops more efficiently, that is.
In the back of the field, Elliott pitted with a group of rival Toyotas, but he fell behind them after repairs when he came to an unplanned sudden stop.
He attempted to start the No. 9 Chevrolet, and fire shot out both exhaust pipes. Getting a push from a few pit crew members, he emerged back on the track in 23rd place.
It took two stages on Feb. 20 for Elliott to “get a handle” on the new Next Gen car. With 35 laps to go, he moved into 10th place before a late crash took him out of competition.
The wrong move aside, Elliott, who has 13 career wins, has plenty of time in his deal to make up for it.
“I couldn’t be more thankful,” Elliott said. “Hopefully, we can grab some more wins.”
Elliott: ‘We obviously want the results that go with that, too’
That’s certain, but not at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 20. Rookie Austin Cindric claimed the title, becoming the second-youngest Daytona 500 titleholder and the first to win a points race with a Next Gen car.
Again, Hendrick Motorsports came up short in “The Great American Race.” Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2014 win was “The Boss’s” last visit to a season-opening Victory Lane.
“We’re very proud of having fast race cars and being able to showcase the efforts of the engine shop and Chevrolet and the body shop and all the things that go into building these cars,” Elliott said. “We obviously want the results that go with that, too.”
With Hendrick’s young driver’s stable, the team appears to have time.