Hendrick Motorsports will drop the No. 5 Chevy from its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series lineup starting in 2018. The team announced Tuesday night that the current No. 24 team with driver Chase Elliott will campaign the No. 9, while newcomer William Byron will take over the No. 24, with that team coming from the current No. 5.
The No. 9 is significant as Chase Elliott’s father, Bill, raced that number in the Cup series. NASCAR Hall of Fame member, Bill Elliott scored 38 Cup wins and the 1988 series championship with the number. His son, a native of Dawsonville, Georgia, raced the No. 9 to the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series title.
“I wasn’t sure I’d ever drive the ‘9’ again,” said Chase Elliott, 21, who is currently in his second season driving the No. 24 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s a huge deal to my family and everyone back home (in Georgia), and I hope all of our fans will be pumped to see it back on the racetrack. There’s a legacy attached to that number, and I want to carry it on. I think it’s awesome that Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA wanted to do this. It’s impossible not to be excited.”
Byron was signed as a replacement for Kasey Kahne, who will leave the team after a five-year tenure. Byron will begin his 2018 rookie season at the same age Gordon was (20) when he made his Cup debut in 1992.