Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NASCAR Chevy Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series, sustained a fractured tibia in a snowboarding accident on Friday, March 3rd, 2023, and was subsequently sidelined for six races while he recovered from corrective surgery. On April 12th, Elliott’s team, Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), announced that the NASCAR Chevy driver will finally make his return for the Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on April 16th.
According to a press release, Elliott was medically cleared for NASCAR competition on April 11th. He then tested on the Chevrolet Driver-In-The-Loop simulator, which is located in Concord, North Carolina, to assess his performance behind the wheel of a car. Elliott feels he’s now capable of tackling the strain of racing at a short track and elected to return to the Cup Series at Martinsville.
“We’re looking forward to having Chase back in his race car to pick up where he left off,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of HMS. “Since the injury, he’s worked extremely hard and focused all his time and energy on returning to the No. 9 team. Throughout the last six weeks, he’s stayed fully engaged with everything we’re doing, and we know he’s chomping at the bit to get on the racetrack and compete for wins.”
While Chase Elliott was out, Josh Berry, an Xfinity Series regular, stepped behind the wheel of the No. 9 NASCAR Chevy for five races to ensure that it would continue earning championship points. IMSA racer Jordan Taylor, meanwhile, drove the No. 9 Camaro for the race at Circuit of the Americas.
“Having such high-caliber drivers available was a huge benefit, especially under difficult circumstances,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of HMS. “Josh [Berry] and Jordan [Taylor] each brought a tremendous amount of professionalism to our team, and we’re truly grateful for their contributions. Their preparation and talent made a big difference. We can’t overstate it.”
HMS also indicated that the team received a waiver from NASCAR that will allow Elliott and the No. 9 NASCAR Chevy to compete in the postseason Playoffs.