Hendrick: ‘No timeline’ for Elliott return

LAS VEGAS — Hendrick Motorsports officials said Saturday that “there is no timeline” for Chase Elliott’s return to NASCAR competition after a snowboarding accident left him with a broken left leg.

The update comes on the eve of Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Xfinity Series regular Josh Berry is scheduled to substitute in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which will end Elliott’s consecutive starts streak at 254.

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Hendrick officials said Friday that Elliott had injured his left leg while snowboarding in Colorado. Saturday, Jeff Andrews — Hendrick Motorsports president and general manager — indicated that Elliott was recovering and doing well after three hours of surgery Friday to repair a fractured tibia. Andrews said he expected Elliott to be released from the hospital later Saturday.

Andrews said that the organization did not have policies in place to restrict their drivers or personnel from participating in outside activities where the risk of injury was higher, and that Elliott’s accident would not prompt them to re-evaluate those. “Our guys have to go out and live their life,” he said, adding that Elliott is an experienced snowboarder.

Elliott is an 18-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series and claimed the series championship in 2020. The 27-year-old driver has opened this season with mixed results — a crash-related 38th in the Daytona 500 and a runner-up finish last week at Auto Club Speedway. Andrews indicated that the team had applied for a waiver for Elliott to retain his eligibility for the Cup Series Playoffs.

Berry, 32, is in his second full Xfinity Series season with JR Motorsports, where he has won five times in the last two years. Sunday will mark his third Cup Series start after making a pair in 2021.

Crew chief Alan Gustafson said the No. 9 team had spent significant time getting the car’s interior fitted for Berry ahead of Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions. The No. 9 Chevy was outfitted with a yellow rookie stripe for Berry by Saturday morning.