Chase Elliott to Shift to No. 9 Car in 2018

Hendrick MotorsportsFor 2018, Hendrick Motorsports will have more than just new drivers behind the wheels. They’ll also be shuffling Cup car numbers. The four-car Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will stop utilizing the No. 5 with Kasey Kahne’s departure. Chase Elliott will move to the No. 9, and William Byron will be in the No. 24.

Elliott and his family have a historical relationship to the number 9, most recently with Chase Elliott running in the JR Motorsports Xfinity No. 9 where Elliott won the Xfinity Championship in 2014.

Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer, Bill Elliott also drove the car to 38 Cup wins, and won the 1988 Cup championship.

Chase Elliott to Shift to No. 9 Car in 2018Currently in his second season at HMS, Elliott said he was not sure he’d ever drive in the No. 9 again.

“It’s a huge deal to my family and everyone back home (in Georgia), and I hope all of our fans will be pumped to see it back on the racetrack,” Eliott said.

“There’s a legacy attached to that number, and I want to carry it on. I think it’s awesome that Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA wanted to do this. It’s impossible not to be excited.”

Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports owner said he knows how much the No. 9 means to the entire Elliott family.

“They’ve contributed so much to our sport, and I’m happy we can honor that history by bringing the number back,” Hendrick said.

“I think fans will really love seeing it out there. I told Chase we’d only do it if he promised to win a bunch of races, so I’m going to hold him to that.”

William Byron - Photo courtesy of Hendrick MotorsportsWith Elliott in the No. 9 for the 2018 Cup season, Hendrick Motorsports will have 2018 Cup rookie, William Byron driving the No. 24 for his rookie season. Byron will begin his 2018 rookie season at the same age of 20 years old as Gordon was when he made his Cup debut back in 1992.

“Jeff and Jimmie (Johnson) are the drivers I’ve always watched most closely and tried to learn from,” said Byron, 19, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and signed with Hendrick Motorsports in August 2016.

“I didn’t think I could be more motivated, but when Mr. (Rick) Hendrick called to tell me (about driving the No. 24), it took things to another level. I have so much respect for all the people who have contributed to the success of the ‘24.’ I know it’s rare to have the chance to be part of something like this. I’m going to make the most of it.”

Following this season, HMS will withdraw its No. 5 car number from competition. It was the organization’s first car number and has run full-time since the team was founded in 1984. The No. 5 was raced to Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory at Martinsville Speedway during its inaugural season, and Terry Labonte drove it to a Cup Series championship in 1996.

“That was by far the hardest part (of the car number decisions),” Hendrick said.

“The ‘5’ means so much to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and to a lot of our fans. The memories and the history will always be there, and I won’t rule out bringing it back some day. Never say never.”

Source: Hendrick Motorsports – New look in 2018 with four iconic car numbers

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