Xfinity champ will compete in five Cup races this season in an effort to prepare for his debut.
CHARLOTTE, N.C – Hendrick Motorsports announced that Chase Elliott will indeed inherit the No. 24 ride at the start of the 2016 season.
Elliott replaces four-time Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, who announced last week he was stepping down at the end of this season.
In 2014, Elliott, 19, became the youngest national champion in NASCAR history after winning the Xfinity Series title in his first year on the tour. He posted three wins, two poles and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 starts.
Alan Gustafson will continue to lead the team. The veteran crew chief has amassed 19 career Cup wins, 18 poles, 98 top fives and 165 top 10 finishes.
He’s a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination.
“Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a release. “Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there’s a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase’s personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors.
“He’s a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There’s a lot to be excited about.”
Gordon can 'never be replaced'
Elliott will make his Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville Speedway on March 29 in the No. 25 NAPA Chevy. In addition, he’s scheduled to compete at Richmond International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway – where Elliott won in the Xfinity Series last year in his track debut. Kenny Francis will oversee the program.
"Jeff Gordon can never be replaced," said Chase Elliott. "And it will be a true honor to drive the No. 24 next year. This is one of the biggest days of my life and a childhood dream come true. I simply hope to do my job for my team"
“So many people have been behind me, and the first thing I want to do is thank them,” Elliott continued, who will run the full 2015 XFINITY Series schedule as the defending champion. “My parents especially have believed in me every step of the way, and I know this wouldn’t be possible without all the sacrifices they’ve made to focus on my racing career. This is such a big week for our family.
“I’m also extremely grateful to Mr. Hendrick and my teammates at both Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports for believing in me. NAPA has been a huge supporter, and I’m honored to represent them on and off the track. Of course the fans have been amazing to me, and I’m so appreciative of that. I know how rare this opportunity is and will work as hard as I can to make everyone proud.”