Chase Elliott, who missed six NASCAR Cup Series events while recovering from a broken left tibia suffered in a snowboarding accident in Colorado, will return to drive the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in this weekend’s NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Elliott’s return in a press release on Wednesday afternoon.
Team owner Rick Hendrick is excited to see his marquee driver back behind the wheel this weekend.
“We’re looking forward to having Chase back in his race car to pick up where he left off,” said Hendrick. “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.”
Following the announcement, NASCAR has confirmed that it has approved a medical waiver for Elliott, which will keep him eligible for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Elliott, who finished 34th and second in the opening two events of the NASCAR Cup Series season, sits 34th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings.
With his position 134 points below the cut line, Elliott will likely need a victory to secure his place in the Playoffs.
According to a press release from Hendrick Motorsports, after being medically cleared on Tuesday, Elliott tested Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning in the Chevrolet Driver-in-the-Loop simulator in Concord, North Carolina. Following the test, Elliott made the decision to return to action this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
While Elliott was recovering from injury, Josh Berry and Jordan Taylor kept the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on the track and scored ever-important points for the team in the NASCAR Cup Series Owner Championship standings.
As a result of the efforts from Berry and Taylor, the No. 9 team sits 20th in the owner standings.
“Having such high-caliber drivers available was a huge benefit, especially under difficult circumstances,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Josh and Jordan 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.”
Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, has a great track record at the 0.526-mile paperclip in Virginia as he scored a victory at Martinsville Speedway in the fall of 2020, and he has recorded three other top-three finishes at the race track.