LAS VEGAS – Chase Elliott underwent a successful surgery on a fractured tibia on Friday night, Hendrick Motorsports team president and general manager Jeff Andrews shared Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Elliott is doing well following the three-hour surgery and is expected to be released from the hospital later today, Andrews said. The 27-year-old injured his left leg while snowboarding in Colorado on Friday.
"There is no timeline at this point," Andrews said regarding the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion's return to the race car. "We would expect this to obviously be several weeks but beyond that, I don’t have a timeline to offer for you. We will work with Chase and his doctors in the future to help determine that.
"For Mr. Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports, the most important thing is Chase’s health and his well-being. We’ll work with him on that timeline. We are going to race a long time together with Chase Elliott and we are going to win a lot more races together. Certainly, this is a little bit of a setback and Chase is very disappointed. We’ll have a seat ready for him when he is healthy and ready to get back in a race car."
Elliott thanked fans for their support and tweeted his encouragement for his fill-in driver Josh Berry on Sunday.
Hendrick Motorsports has applied to NASCAR for a waiver for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Elliott is an 18-time winner and the 2020 champion in the Cup Series. He has reached the Championship 4 in each of the last three seasons. Elliott and the No. 9 team are coming off a runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway last weekend.
Berry will fill in for Elliott in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Las Vegas. Driving for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, he is a five-time race winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Two of those Xfinity wins have come at the 1.5-mile Nevada venue. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native has made two previous starts at the NASCAR Cup Series level. Berry said Elliott reached out to him ahead of today's on-track activity.
"He shot me a text and just thanked me for helping out," Berry said. "I thanked him for thinking of me and considering me for this fill-in position. Chase has been a good friend to me over years. Even dating back to when I would make a couple of Xfinity Series starts years ago at JR Motorsports. He was always one of the first ones to help me whenever I needed it.
"I’m thankful for these guys for giving me this opportunity. I obviously wish him well and going forward, I’ll do whatever these guys need and we’ll take it from there."
The No. 9 team has been busy making changes to the interior of the car to get it ready for Berry to sit in and drive this weekend. Berry's seat bucket is similar to that of Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, but different from Elliott's, crew chief Alan Gustafson noted.
"That transition is always a difficult thing," Gustafson said. "With Chase, obviously we’ve had years and years and years to refine the interior package. His seat, leg braces, head rest, etc., for him. We had to do the best we could to get it into a suitable position for Josh, which I feel good about."
The veteran team leader said that the objectives for his team do not change despite being without the five-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award winner.
"Our goals are still the same," Gustafson said. "To be as good as we possibly can when Chase gets back and win as many races as possible.
"...There’s certainly a lot of changes that comes with this, but I think we all can learn and grow. Find ways to improve and be ready to go when the playoffs come around."