Chase Elliott says moving to No. 9 was a "no-brainer"
Hendrick Motorsports’ decision to move Chase Elliott from the No. 24 to No. 9 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season has ramifications far beyond just the HMS organization.
It’s a number, Chase’s father, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, made famous in his stellar Cup series career.
Chase, 21, raced the No. 9 virtually his entire career in honor of his family’s racing heritage until he took over the No. 24 Chevrolet at Hendrick last season, replacing another NASCAR icon, Jeff Gordon.
On Friday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Chase was asked who was more excited about the number change, he or his dad.
“I think me. I have always ever since I was little, that was the number I always picked, the number I always went with, the number I raced from go-karts all the way through late models, even the Xfinity years and all that was really because it was my decision,” Chase said.
“I mean I didn’t have to pick that number, I didn’t have to go with it. That was just kind of the number I had always liked. And really my passion and love for that number came from the Evernham (Motorsports) days with my dad and I was just old enough at that point to where I kind of started to understand and saw him racing.
“I made a connection with him with that number in the early 2000s that really I have no idea about the 1980s and all the success then at that point when I made that connection. So, it was really all the early 2000s that is kind of what made me want to be No. 9.”
Chase acknowledged he had come to feel at “home” with the No. 24 team over the past season-and-a-half, but he will continue to work with the same team members after the number change.
The current No. 24 team organization will become the No. 9 next season, while the current No. 5 team organization will assume the No. 24 and new driver William Byron.
“I didn’t have any second thoughts,” Elliott said. “The only thought I have had is the No. 24 it really has become home for me over the past year-and-a-half and I feel like I have kind of got to that point with it and felt at home.
“So, that is the only thing to it, but no, it was a no brainer for me to want to take that chance.”
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