CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A week after Jeff Gordon announced his impending retirement from full-time driving in NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports has named his replacement: Chase Elliott.
The 2014 Xfinity Series champion (the youngest in NASCAR national series history) will take over Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet, which will retain Alan Gustafson as the crew chief.
Elliott, 19, will make his Sprint Cup debut March 29 at Martinsville Speedway and also will race at Richmond International Raceway (April 25), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 24), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 26) and Darlington Raceway (Sept. 6).
For the part-time Cup schedule, Elliott will drive a No. 25 car sponsored by NAPA, which has backed his Xfinity car since last year.
The team will announce the sponsor for his 2016 Sprint Cup ride at a later date.
“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.”
The news makes for a significant week for the Elliott family. Bill Elliott, Chase’s father, will be inducted Friday into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, honoring a career that featured 44 wins and the 1988 championship in NASCAR’s premier series. NBCSN will televise the ceremony at 8 p.m. Friday.
Gordon, a four-time series champion who ranks third on NASCAR’s all-time win list with 92 victories, revealed last week that his 23rd season in Sprint Cup would be his last. He is considering other series next season.