By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
*Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season for 24 drivers. We will release one driver preview per day over a 24-day stretch.
Years in Cup: 1
Career Wins: 0
Biggest Accomplishment: 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion
While many changes are occurring across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, for some teams there is little to no change. Chase Elliott will be one of several drivers that will not see any significant changes to his team between the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Elliott will once again team up with crew chief Alan Gustafson and spotter Eddie D’Hondt at Hendrick Motorsports.
NAPA Auto Parts returns as the primary sponsor of the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet SS for 24 races. SunEnergy1 also returns for four races with Kelley Blue Book and Mountain Dew serving as the primary sponsor for two races each. As of the posting of this preview, no announcement has been made regarding 3M’s return.
In 2016 Elliott exceeded the expectations of many as he challenged for victories at Chicagoland Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway. During the 2016 season, he earned 10 Top fives, 17 Top 10s, and two poles, including the Daytona 500. Elliott had an average finish of 16.0 in 2016 with an average start of 11.3.
Elliott’s consistency earned him a Chase berth, becoming one of just two rookies in 2016 to make the Chase. In the Chase, however, he was eliminated in the second round. Elliott ended the 2016 season 10th in points. The consistency also catapulted Elliott to earn the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.
Elliott’s two poles also earned him a spot in the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, where he will look to continue his success from 2016 in the annual exhibition race.
Unlike the 2016 season, Elliott is not currently scheduled to compete in any NASCAR Xfinity Series races. This will allow him to focus entirely on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, where he hopes to once again compete for the Championship.