Chase Elliott undergoes successful surgery; expected to miss several races

Chase Elliott underwent successful surgery to stabilize a broken tibia in his left leg Friday night.

Hendrick Motorsports met with the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday morning and gave an update on the driver’s condition.

“Chase did go through a successful surgery last night that lasted about three hours,” Jeff Andrews, president and general manager at Hendrick Motorsports said. “He’s doing well. The surgery was to repair a fractured tibia and that’s really the extent that we know. There is no timeline. At this point in time, we would expect this obviously to be several weeks. But beyond that, I don’t have a timeline to offer for you. We will obviously work with Chase and his doctors in the future to help determine that.”

Andrews said the team has applied to NASCAR for a playoff waiver for the Elliott, who won the NASCAR Cup title in 2020. Andrews added that Elliott feels bad about what happened and felt he let team owner Rick Hendrick down.

Rick Hendrick was once vehemently opposed to allowing his drivers to do much outside racing in NASCAR. However, he seemed to loosen up since signing Kyle Larson, who races outside of NASCAR constantly and who won the 2021 Cup title for the team.

Elliott was injured while snowboarding in Colorado. Andrews said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Hendrick to tighten the policies on outside activities.

“It won’t force us to reevaluate any policies,” Andrews said. “These guys have to go out and live a life outside of the racetrack, and certainly what Chase (Elliott) was doing was not anything abnormal for him. He’s an experienced snowboarder. He’s been doing it most of his life and it was an accident. A similar injury could happen falling off a mountain bike or stepping off a curb while you’re jogging.

“It was an accident and Chase feels awful about it. But our stance is just that – it was an accident, and our guys have to go out and live their lives.”

Josh Berry, who races for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, will race the car in the Cup race Sunday. Berry said he’s honored to be in a Hendrick Motorsports car, but that he is thinking of Elliott and hates the circumstances that will give Berry a chance to race Sunday.

“I’m just thankful that these guys – Mr. Hendrick and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports – thought of me to come fill-in for him in this moment,” Berry said. “Without a doubt, it’s going to be a great challenge for me. But a great challenge comes great opportunity for me to learn and grow as a driver, and work around a lot of really great, talented and smart people here at Hendrick Motorsports.”

He will take the wheel of the No. 9 Chevy for the first time Saturday in practice. It will be the first time Berry has ever driven a Next Gen car.

“Obviously, the car is a lot different, but these guys have some great tools to look at and things to prepare for,” he said. “I’m going to just try to not overthink it, and like I said, just take it one lap at a time. Just try to run all the laps and be there at the end of the race tomorrow.” Berry added that he has no expectations at this point and will take it ‘one lap at a time. ‘

Citing privacy concerns Andrews would not say what the immediate future held for Elliott, only that the surgery was successful and he would be released from the hospital sometime Saturday. He assured everyone:

“I think we all know Chase (Elliott),” he said. “He cares an awful lot about his race team and Mr. Hendrick. And I think at the top of his mind, he’s worried and concerned that he let – first and foremost – Mr. Hendrick down and his race team down. Texting with him this morning, he was asking how late his guys had to work and things like that, just on the swap over. That’s just pretty typical Chase Elliott. He’s a great kid; has a huge heart and can only imagine how hard this is (for him). He’s worried about how hard this is on us, and we’re worried about how hard it is on him.

“Let’s get him better and we’ll get him back in his seat as soon as he’s ready and his doctors say so.”


Chase Elliott out at Vegas due to snowboarding injury; will undergo surgery

Greg Engle