Chase Elliott injured his left leg in a snowboarding accident in Colorado on Friday and will miss this weekend’s NASCAR race at Las Vegas.
Hendrick Motorsports said NASCAR’s most popular driver was scheduled to have surgery Friday night. Team owner Rick Hendrick didn’t immediately reply to a request by The Associated Press for more information about Elliott’s condition and the accident.
Josh Berry will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet on Sunday in place of Elliott.
“Chase’s health is our primary concern,” Hendrick said. “He’s spoken with several members of our team and is understandably disappointed to miss time in the car. Of course, he has our full support and we’ll provide any resources he needs.”
Hendrick said in a statement he hoped to give an update on Elliott this weekend.
Elliott is a second-generation driver and the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott. The Georgia native is NASCAR’s five-time fan-voted most popular driver.
Elliott was runner-up to Kyle Busch last week at Fontana, California. He was part of a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500.
Las Vegas is the third race of the season. Berry is a two-time winner in the Xfinity series at Las Vegas and is the defending Xfinity winner. Berry also will race Saturday for Hendrick affiliate JR Motorsports.
Elliott is a part of NASCAR’s shrinking group of true superstars and was signed to a developmental deal by Hendrick when he was 14 years old.
He blossomed into a bona fide elite racer and won the Cup title in 2020. The 27-year-old has 18 career Cup victories and has advanced into the championship finale the last three consecutive years.
The injury comes at a time when Hendrick dramatically shifted his stance on the extracurricular activities. He was a firm believer in that his drivers could not race in other series or partake in daredevil behavior for fear of injury.
But he did a complete U-turn after signing Kyle Larson for 2021. Larson runs at small tracks all over the country and persuaded Hendrick not to force him to quit.
In fact, Hendrick is even partnering with McLaren and Chevrolet to enter Larson in the Indianapolis 500. The deal has been announced for 2024, but the AP has learned it is a two-year deal that includes the 2025 race.
Hendrick the past two years also has entered a car in the IMSA sports car series endurance races and in June is going to the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of a special project with NASCAR. Elliott was thought to be a contender for a seat in the historic entry, but NASCAR has a conflicting race weekend and Elliott has always said he wouldn’t miss a Cup race.
Hendrick’s position opened the door for all four Hendrick drivers to start racing other events, and Elliott has taken the offer.
Elliott’s snowboarding accident, however, happened during a physical activity, and it isn’t publicly known what he can and can’t do under his Hendrick contract.
Once he relaxed his view on extra racing, Hendrick explained that a driver knows very well if they get injured, they will be replaced. This will be his first test.
Elliott is a licensed pilot and because he’s never left his Dawsonville, Georgia, hometown he often helicopters himself to meetings at Hendrick’s North Carolina race shop.
Berry, meanwhile is 32, and normally drives for JRM in the second-tier Xfinity Series. He is a five-time winner for JRM and has two previous Cup starts.