NASCAR: Why isn’t Chase Elliott driving at Las Vegas?

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Chase Elliott’s 254-race streak of NASCAR Cup Series starts is set to end in Sunday afternoon’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Josh Berry, not Chase Elliott, is set to drive the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in this Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Berry was called upon to replace the 2020 champion and five-time Most Popular Driver Award winner on Friday night after it was revealed that Elliott had suffered a leg injury in a Colorado snowboarding accident, forcing him to undergo surgery.

His absence from this 267-lap Pennzoil 400 at the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilomemter) Las Vegas, Nevada oval marks the first time he has missed a race since he became a full-time Cup Series driver back in 2016.

It brings an end to Chase Elliott’s streak of 254 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series starts, which began back in the 2016 Daytona 500.

A timetable hasn’t been revealed regarding a potential return, but it will surely be publicized in due time as more is known about the injury and Elliott’s path to recovery.

Elliott was coming off of a second place finish in the final race at Auto Club Speedway, his best ever finish at the track. He had been involved in a Daytona 500 wreck the week prior, knocking him out of the Great American Race. He currently sits in a 14th place tie in the point standings.

Elliott will need to be granted a playoff waiver if he is to remain eligible to compete for the championship if and when he returns. Given NASCAR’s past decisions on playoff waivers, it would be surprising if he didn’t get one. A waiver means that a driver can still make the playoffs either by winning or qualifying on points, despite missing a race or races.

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The Pennzoil 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday afternoon. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!