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NASCAR: Chase Elliott is out indefinitely with a leg injury, Josh Berry runs Vegas race in No. 9 car
Chase Elliott will miss at least several weeks of racing after sustaining a fractured tibia following a snowboarding accident. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Hendrick Motorsports confirmed on Friday, March 3, that Chase Elliott would not compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after sustaining injuries while snowboarding in Colorado.

The Dawsonville native successfully underwent surgery Friday evening for the injury, which was confirmed to be a fractured tibia.

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During a press conference on Saturday, Hendrick Motorsports team president and general manager Jeff Andrews stated that Elliott was not expected to race for at least “several weeks” but that there was “no timeline at this point” for his return.

“For Mr. Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports, the most important thing is Chase’s health and his well-being,” Andrews said. “Certainly, this is a little bit of a setback and Chase is very disappointed. We’ll have a seat ready for him when he is healthy and ready to get back in a race car.”

Alongside the announcement of Elliott’s absence from the Las Vegas race, Hendrick Motorsports also stated that Tennessee native Josh Berry would drive the No. 9 car for that race, in which he finished 29th.

Berry, a five-time winner in the Xfinity Series, made his third career Cup Series start at Las Vegas with a reconfigured interior and seat bucket in the No. 9 car.

Elliott received support from the racing community following the confirmation of his injury, including some perspective from veteran driver Kyle Busch, who missed 11 races in 2015 with a broken leg. 

“I’m sure he’s in good hands, but I reached out to him last night and this morning to talk to him a little bit about my experience,” Busch said Saturday morning. “[I’d] be happy to help, talk to him and help him through all the things I did to help my recovery be speedy.”

According to Chris Myers of FOX Sports, Elliott is now home from the hospital, in good spirits, and is starting his physical therapy this week.

During Sunday’s race, Elliott expressed his thoughts on the situation with gratitude and humor, noting that he was unable to change the “script” of his season despite issuing a “formal request.”

“In all seriousness, the support I’ve received over the last couple of days is far greater than I deserve,” Elliott said. “I want to thank everyone who has lended it over in any form.”

In addition to the support he has received relating to the injury itself, Elliott has attained support from fellow drivers regarding his participation in leisure activities during the racing season.

While Ryan Blaney pointed out that Elliott had previous experience snowboarding and that the accident could have occurred at any point to anyone, it was Kevin Harvick who gave the most salient point regarding the need for drivers to spend time outside the garage and track.

“You have to be able to go out and live your life and do things to keep yourself sane or this deal will eat you up,” Harvick said. “There’s way too much time spent at the race track to not be able to live the rest of your life.”

Despite Elliott’s upcoming absence behind the wheel, the No. 9 team remains focused on finding success.

“Our goals are still the same,” crew chief Alan Gustafson said. “To be as good as we possibly can when Chase gets back and win as many races as possible.”