NASCAR: 5 possible replacements for Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR -Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR -Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr., JR Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Possible Chase Elliott replacements: No. 5 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

We couldn’t not include the huge longshot that everybody wants to see happen.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who co-owns JR Motorsports, hasn’t competed in a NASCAR Cup Series race since 2017, when he retired from full-time competition. Unlike fellow former Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt has actually stayed retired.

But the signs are all there that a comeback isn’t totally off the table.

Earnhardt, the sport’s perennial most popular driver before Chase Elliott, has competed in one Xfinity Series race per year since retiring from full-time competition, so he hasn’t totally been able to stay away from the driving side of the sport.

This year, which is set to be his 28th straight year of NASCAR competition, he upped that commitment to two for the first time since 2017. This is the case despite the fact that he once hinted the 2020 season could be his final season altogether. Now here we are, three years later, and he doesn’t appear to be close to being done.

As referenced on previous slides, there is the affiliation between JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports. Rick Hendrick is actually a co-owner of the former, so on that front, getting Earnhardt back behind the wheel of a Hendrick Cup car wouldn’t be all that complicated.

Earnhardt has also tested the Next Gen car — and on multiple occasions. Could that translate to a one-off (or more) in an actual Cup Series race?

It could certainly allow him access to additional insights which he could share in the booth when NBC takes over from Fox later this year, when Elliott will hopefully be back.

Plus, there are quite a few tracks scheduled to host races in the near future where he has made Xfinity Series starts since 2018, so taking a risk by competing in a superspeedway race wouldn’t be necessary.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Who will end up replacing Chase Elliott in this Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway and/or beyond? Will it be one of these five JR Motorsports drivers, or will Hendrick Motorsports look elsewhere to find a replacement to put behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet?