NASCAR: Hendrick Motorsports have a backup plan for Chase Elliott

Josh Berry, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Josh Berry, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Chase Elliott is set to return at Martinsville Speedway after missing the last six NASCAR Cup Series races, but Hendrick Motorsports still have a backup plan in case he isn’t at 100%.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott was injured in a Colorado snowboarding accident back in early March. He fractured his left tibia and was forced to miss six NASCAR Cup Series races.

Now he is set to return to the No. 9 Chevrolet in this Sunday afternoon’s NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway, the ninth of 26 races on the regular season schedule.

Elliott, who spent a lot of time in the Chevrolet simulator this week to make sure that he was ready to return to action, is confident that he will be able to complete practice, qualifying, and the 400-lap race around the four-turn, 0.526-mile (0.847-kilometer) Ridgeway, Virginia without issue.

But just in case Chase Elliott isn’t at 100%, Hendrick Motorsports have a backup plan for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

Josh Berry, who filled in for Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet in all five of the oval races he missed, is set to be on hand at “The Paperclip” already, since he competes full-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. NASCAR’s second highest level is scheduled to run at the track on Saturday evening.

In the event that Elliott has any problems, Berry would be able to take over for him for a sixth time.

Elliott has competed in just two races this year. He was involved in a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and then finished in second place in the final race at Auto Club Speedway.

With six missed starts in a row, he sits in 34th (last) place in the point standings among full-time drivers, but he has been granted a playoff waiver, meaning he can still qualify for the postseason. However, he is currently 134 points below the playoff cut line, so it won’t be easy.

Even winning a race wouldn’t completely solidify him an eighth straight playoff spot, since there could be more than 16 regular season race winners.

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

Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to host the NOCO 400 on Sunday, April 16. The race is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Take advantage of FuboTV’s free trial offer now if you haven’t already done so!