Chase Elliott has a road map

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, right, poses for a selfie with a NASCAR fan during an autograph session for the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 08:  Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, right, poses for a selfie with a NASCAR fan during an autograph session for the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, right, poses for a selfie with a NASCAR fan during an autograph session for the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.