Sunday, July 21, 2024

Hendrick’s Xfinity programme adds Pocono for Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports‘ part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series arm will field the #17 Chevrolet Camaro for all four of their Cup Series drivers in 2023. On Wednesday, the team announced Chase Elliott will pilot the car at Pocono Raceway on 22 July.

The 2014 Xfinity Series champion, Elliott last entered a race in the series in 2022 at Darlington with Hendrick affiliate JR Motorsports, where he missed the show after qualifying was rained out. Barring a repeat or a disastrous qualifying effort, Pocono will be his first Xfinity start since finishing fourth at the 2021 Indianapolis event with JRM.

Nearly all of his Xfinity starts have come for JRM, the exception being a seven-race stint in 2018 for GMS Racing that included a runner-up finish at Pocono. He has five wins and sixty-six top tens in eighty-two career starts.

At the Cup level, Elliott is trying to make up lost ground after missing six races due to injury and a seventh to serve a suspension. He is currently twenty-third in points with seven top tens and needs to either win a race or reach the top sixteen within the next seven races if he wants to make the playoffs.

Elliott recorded his first Cup win at Pocono in 2022, albeit circumstantial as he finished third only for the top two to be disqualified.

His Hendrick team-mates Wiliam Byron and Kyle Larson ran a race each, respectively finishing second and third at COTA and Sonoma. Fellow Hendrick driver Alex Bowman is scheduled to race at Watkins Glen in August before Larson rounds out the five-race calendar at Darlington the following month.

Hendrick opened their Xfinity programme in 2022 with all but Elliott running a race. The #17 has finished in the top five in all but one start, the exception coming at The Glen where Byron won the pole but was spun late.