Chase Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon as No. 24 driver next season

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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.

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994