Is Chase Elliott Destined to Drive the No 9 Again?

chase-elliott-9Chase Elliott, two years after his Xfinity Championship season is now driving the iconic No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports in his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series. But is he destined to run his whole time at HMS in the No. 24? Could a return to the No. 9 happen?

Three races in, Chase Elliott has already celebrated a pole position and a top 10 finish, along with an average start position of 12.7, and an average finish of 27.7.

Elliott and his family have a history in the No. 9. The past two season, Elliott drove the Number 9 full-time in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. Elliott also drove in the ARCA series in the No. 9. There are plenty of other times when the No. 9 and Elliott crossed paths, but these are some of the most recent.

The other obvious tie of the Elliott family and the No. 9 car is Chase’s father — former NASCAR driver, Bill Elliott. Over his career, Bill Elliott won won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award a record 16 times, and it could have been more had Bill Elliott not withdrawn his name from the ballot in 2002.

During his career, Bill Elliott won the 1988 Winston Cup Championship and had a total of 44 wins in his Cup career, including two Daytona 500 victories (1985 and 1987).

While the elder Elliott drove a lot of numbers, the No. 9 was in the mix a lot — including from 1979 through 1991. In 2001, after selling his race team to Ray Evernham, he drove the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW-sponsored Dodge Intrepid, including a successful first race, winning the pole for the 2001 Daytona 500 and finished in the Top 5. Elliott raced the No. 9 another two years. After the 2003 season, Kasey Kahne took over the ride.

In the most recent set of seasons, the No. 9 has been raced full-time by the Richard Petty Motorsports organization, including with Marcos Ambrose and Sam Hornish, Jr. behind the wheel.

But for the 2016 season, RPM returned their second car back to the No. 44 as they welcomed in a new driver — Brian Scott. The last full season a Petty entry featured the No. 44 was 2009 with driver AJ Allmendinger.

But before the 2015 season began, Richard Petty said he was not “emotionally attached” to the number 9 and that Elliott could have it in subsequent years.

With the shuffle of driver and car number at RPM, is it possible that Hendrick Motorsports would consider the No. 9 for Chase Elliott? Prior to the 2016 season, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the rookie season of Chase Elliott would be in the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. This is in part to honoring the No. 24 and Jeff Gordon. But after a season or two, it’s quite possible Chase Elliott’s team will get re-numbered to the No. 9, and the 24 will get unofficially retired by the Hendrick organization.

ClosetNASCARFan has no inside information on this, just a hunch based on the changing of numbers in 2016, and the fact that the No. 24 in NASCAR is so associated with Jeff Gordon. One has to think HMS has at least considered the transition for upcoming NASCAR Cup seasons.

4 thoughts on “Is Chase Elliott Destined to Drive the No 9 Again?

  • March 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm
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    I ain’t sure Chase wants to run “daddy’s” number. Dale Jr’ said, during the big swap to Hendricks, that he wasn’t his Daddy and doesn’t like being compared to him. I think that’s Chase’s thinkin’,too. I took over my Dad’s electric business and boy, It was hard not to shoot some customers ’cause they wanted to relate to me like they did to my Dad. I don’t understand putting Chase in Gordon’s car. Mr. H has the #25 in storage, and coulda put that on Chase’s car. Chase, being a rookie and not wanting to make those kind of waves his year will sit in anything they tell him to. But I’ll bet,given the opportunity, he’d pick a number with a little less expectancy.

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  • March 8, 2016 at 9:47 pm
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    What it all boils down to is it’s just a number. No big deal.

    Reply
  • March 9, 2016 at 7:39 am
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    Who wrote this article? Your dates are totally wrong on when Bill Elliott went to drive for Evernham. He drove the #9 in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Kasey Kahne took over the #9 in 2004, which was his rookie year. After 2003, Elliott drove several #s from 39, 91 and 00.

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