2020 NASCAR champ has surgery after injuring leg in snowboard accident
NASCAR star Chase Elliott underwent successful surgery on his left leg Friday night but will miss this weekend’s Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 2020 NASCAR Cup champion fractured the tibia in his left leg in a snowboarding accident earlier Friday while on the slopes in Colorado. He’s expected to be released from the hospital Saturday.
‘Chase did go through a successful surgery last night that lasted about three hours. He’s doing well,’ team president Jeff Andrews said in a press conference Saturday, adding that there’s no timetable for his return. ‘At this point in time, we would expect this obviously to be several weeks. But beyond that, I don’t have a timeline to offer for you.’
But when Elliott is healthy and ready to return, Andrews said they’ll ‘have his seat ready for him.’
The 27-year-old Elliott has been voted the series’ most popular driver for five consecutive years. Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR’s winningest team.
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Andrews emphasized that ‘the most important thing is Chase’s health and his wellbeing,’ echoing the statement team owner Rick Hendrick released Friday.
‘We’re going to race a long time together with Chase Elliott and we’re going to win a lot more races together,’ Andrews said. ‘It’s certainly a little bit of a setback and obviously Chase is very disappointed, but again, I want to reiterate that the most important thing is Chase’s health.’
Andrews said Hendrick Motorsports won’t reevaluate its policies for activities racers are allowed to do during the season, saying Elliot could’ve suffered the same injury ‘stepping off a curb’ as he did during his snowboard accident.
‘These guys have to go out and live a life outside of the race track, and certainly what Chase (Elliott) was doing was not anything abnormal for him. He’s an experienced snowboarder,’ Andrews said.
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The Georgia native and and son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, finished second in the Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California last week. Elliott had a rough season opener, however, finishing third-to-last in the Daytona 500 following a crash.
Elliott will be replaced in the No. 9 Chevrolet in Las Vegas by NASCAR Xifinity Series driver Josh Berry. The 32-year-old Berry, who drives for Hendrick affiliate JR Motorsports, is a two-time winner in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas.
Sunday’s Pennzoil 400, which is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET (FOX), will be the first time Elliot has missed a Cup Series race since beginning his full-time career in 2016. Dating back to the 2016 Daytona 500, Elliott had made 254 consecutive starts and recorded 18 wins, including his 2020 championship.