DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chase Elliott's fourth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway helped the No. 9 team grab the 16th and final spot in the owner playoffs.
Elliott's result combined with a repeat winner in the NASCAR Cup Series (Chris Buescher) got the squad into the field. Hendrick Motorsports will have three cars in the owner playoffs with the No. 5 and No. 24 teams in as well as the No. 9. Elliott did not make the driver playoffs, but he will compete for the owner championship over the final 10 races.
RELATED: Elliott finishes fourth at Daytona in regular-season finale
"Proud to get the car into the owner championship," Elliott said. "It’s a big deal to get in on the owner side, so hopefully we’ll try and go make some noise on that front. Just keep progressing and pushing to be better for next year. We’ll be better through all of this down the road."
The No. 9 team will head to Darlington Raceway for the first race of the playoffs in the 16th position in the owner standings at 2,001 points and minus-seven to the cutoff line for advancement.
The owner standings take into account all the results for the car number in a given season. So in the case of the No. 9 team, it counts Elliott's stats as well as those of the drivers that filled in for him while he was sidelined with a fractured tibia for six races in March and April and missed another race due to a NASCAR suspension. Josh Berry (five races), Jordan Taylor (one race) and Corey LaJoie (one race) each got behind the wheel of the entry led by crew chief Alan Gustafson.
In total, the No. 9 team had eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in the 2023 regular season. Those results were highlighted by runner-up results at Auto Club Speedway (with Elliott), Richmond Raceway (with Berry) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (with Elliott).
RELATED: Learn more about the No. 9 team
The owner playoffs work in a similar fashion to how the driver playoffs do. A win by an eligible team automatically advances that team to the next round. The four lowest car numbers on points (that didn't secure a win) will be eliminated from the owner playoffs at the end of each three-race round.
This is not the first time in recent history that Hendrick Motorsports had one of its entries in one postseason field, but not the other. In 2022, Kyle Larson did not advance out of the Round of 12 in the driver playoffs, but the No. 5 car did advance to the Round of 8. Larson went on to win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and that saw the No. 5 car reach the Championship 4 for the owner playoffs.