WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.—During an Wednesday interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, team owner Rick Hendrick said he expects driver Chase Elliott to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut next year.
That’s fine with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns the No. 9 Chevrolet driven by Elliott in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
“I think it makes great sense,” Earnhardt said Friday before opening Cup practice at Watkins Glen. “Two Nationwide seasons, run a little Cup in that second season and go right into Cup.
“I think that’s the plan. He’s running well enough that that seems to make a lot of sense. I wouldn’t have expected anything else, to be honest with you.”
In his rookie season with JR Motorsports, Elliott leads the Nationwide standings by two points over teammate Regan Smith. Plans for Elliott’s future include a second season in NNS next year before a jump to a full-time Cup ride in 2016.
And though NASCAR restricts an owner to a maximum of four drivers per Cup organization, the sanctioning body does make an allowance for occasional appearances by a rookie driver in what would be a fifth car.
Accordingly, Hendrick could field a car for Elliott on a limited basis next year.