Chase Elliott will return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for a one-off appearance in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, serving as the interim driver for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing.
Elliott, who has three victories in 17 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts, will pilot the No. 35 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado for the two-truck organization, in place of Jake Garcia, who turns 18 on March 3.
“This will be the first time I’ve driven a truck at Daytona, let alone a superspeedway,” said the 27-year-old Elliott, whose first of three NCTS career wins came in 2013 at age 17, becoming the youngest winner in Truck Series history at the time. “There’s no better team owner than Bill McAnally to do it with, as he’s been involved in racing and been associated with NAPA for a long time.”
Garcia, the anchor driver of the No. 35 Chevrolet Silverado, will make his first start of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on his 18th birthday. The Monroe, Georgia native will be partnered with veteran crew chief Mark Hillman for 2023.
“I think there’s an incredible amount of potential for our team to make a lot of noise this year, and we have the people to make it happen,” said McAnally. “We’re thrilled to have Chase step in and drive our No. 35 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet at Daytona and everyone involved in our program is excited and glad that he’s able to do so. I think his presence at Daytona will benefit Jake (Garcia) and our entire group.”
Charles Denike, who joined McAnally-Hilgemann Racing in the second half of the 2022 NASCAR Truck Series season, will continue to serve as crew chief of the No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado, which will be driven by Christian Eckes.
Additionally, the team has hired Chad Norris to serve as General Manager of McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, effective immediately. Norris most recently worked with GMS Racing, an alliance partner of MHR, and has multiple years of crew chief experience.
“Mark (Hillman) and Charles (Denike) had good seasons last year and are motivated to elevate the performance of both teams,” McAnally said. “Having Chad come on board is a good boost for us also. He’s been around the Chevrolet team, has crew chief experience, and worked with Jake last season. I feel like we have a lot of talented people in our team, and we’re looking forward to putting it all together in our 33rd season with NAPA and NAPA Auto Care.”