NASCAR: Timetable revealed for Chase Elliott return

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

A clearer picture is starting to emerge regarding Chase Elliott returning to NASCAR Cup Series action after suffering a broken leg.

Last Friday, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott was involved in a snowboarding accident in Colorado which left him needing a three-hour surgery on an injured leg.

The surgery confirmed that he had fractured his left tibia, sidelining him from NASCAR Cup Series competition indefinitely.

Josh Berry, who drives the No. 8 Chevrolet full-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, filled in for Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished in 29th place.

Berry is set to continue to drive the No. 9 Chevrolet in the oval races that Elliott misses, while IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver Jordan Taylor is set to fill in for him in the road course race at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, March 26, which would be Elliott’s fourth race out.

Until now, Elliott was simply set to miss “several weeks”, and there was no timetable on a potential return. For this particular injury, it would’ve been a stretch for him to return before at least four or five weeks.

Now there is a timetable, according to Hendrick Motorsports.

Chase Elliott is expected to miss six NASCAR Cup Series races before getting back behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet.

If those six races include the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then Elliott could return for the race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 16. If not, he could return for the race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 23.

Keep in mind, this could all change, depending on how Elliott’s road to recovery goes. It could be earlier, and it could be later.

The 2020 champion has already begun physical therapy, which is a good sign, and the team have already applied for him to be granted a playoff waiver, implying a sense of optimism that he won’t miss too much time. But no two individuals are alike when it comes to the recovery process.

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A medical waiver would allow Elliott to qualify for the playoffs (either on points or by winning), despite not running the full 26-race regular season schedule. He still scores zero points and zero playoff points during his extended absence.