Tough break (no pun intended) for NASCAR‘s most popular driver.
It was announced this evening that Chase Elliott will miss this weekend’s Cup Series race after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in Colorado earlier this week.
Elliott is undergoing surgery tonight, and will be replaced by Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry in the #9 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports.
It’s not yet known how many races Elliott will have to miss, but back in 2015 when Kyle Busch suffered a broken leg during a crash at Daytona he ended up missing 11 races to start the season.
Obviously it’s too early to tell whether Elliott’s injury is as severe as Busch’s was, or whether he may be able to make a quick recovery to return to the track sooner. (But Busch also won the championship the year that he broke his leg, so at least there may be some history on Chase’s side).
Chase will need a waiver to compete for the championship, as NASCAR rules state that a driver seeking the trophy must start all races in a season – though it’s almost a certainly he’ll be granted a waiver and eligible for the playoffs as long as he wins at least one race and finishes the regular season in the top 30 in points.
In a statement, team owner Rick Hendrick said that Chase’s health and recovery are the team’s main priority:
“Chase’s health is our primary concern. He’s spoken with several members of our team and is understandably disappointed to miss time in the car. Of course, he has our full support, and we’ll provide any resources he needs. We hope to share another update later this weekend.”
Chase had a rough start to the season in the Daytona 500, finishing 38th after a crash, but rebounded last week to finish 2nd at Auto Club Speedway in California.
Let’s hope he heals quickly and is able to get back in the car sooner rather than later.