Chase Elliott’s Off-Season Surgery Could Just Be the Push He Needs to Win in 2024

Published 11/18/2023, 4:55 PM EST

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After all the mishaps and missed opportunities, Chase Elliott is not willing to take any chances next year. Hendrick Motorsports’ #9 driver recently underwent minor surgery on his shoulder so as to recover completely in the off-season. 

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Elliott is aware of the expectations riding on him after missing the playoffs for the first time in his career. And this procedure could be one of several steps he would take in the coming months to regain his 2020 championship-winning form.

Chase Elliott looking forward to the new season after treating old wounds

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Chase Elliott entered the 2023 season on the back of 5 race wins and a Championship 4 appearance in 2022. For a driver who has never finished below the 10th place ever since his debut in 2016, another playoff berth was a given in this year’s Cup Series as well. Unfortunately, after a runner-up performance at the Auto Club Speedway, the HMS driver suffered a snowboarding accident that kept him out of the next six races. Just when the #9 team was beginning to recover with a Top 5 finish in Darlington, an on-track altercation with Denny Hamlin resulted in a race suspension for Elliott. 

It would be difficult for the best of racers to recover the points lost through 7 missed races. Moreover, with replacement drivers taking his place in the first half of the season, the #9 team could not build a stable partnership with Elliott to win in the second half either. As a result, Elliott could not qualify for the driver’s title. In order to avoid the possibility of a single missed race next year, Elliott wisely chose to overcome all health-related issues as soon as the season ended. 

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In a clip shared on social media, the #9 driver admitted deliberately timing the procedure well in advance of the season opener Daytona 500. He said to all his followers, “Just wanted to give you a quick update. I had a little procedure on my shoulder. Had an old injury that I needed to get tended to and obviously, the off-season is a much better time to do that than my last surgery, so here we are. Everything is all good, ready to go for 2024. Certainly looking forward to Dayton 500 coming up in February.”

Watch this story: Chase Elliott’s Unprecedented Season

After all, even under unfavorable circumstances, Elliott took his team to the Round of 8 in the owner’s title, eventually finishing 10th. Also, he personally finished 17th in the driver’s standing, the very next in line after the playoff drivers. Interestingly, even though the racing community readily gave him a pass for understandable reasons, Chase Elliott refused to use his accident to shield his performance this season.

Elliott claimed to not be playoff-ready even without major accident

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Although Chase Elliott qualified for the 2022 championship race, there was a dramatic shift in his last five races as compared to the rest of the season. In a season that earned him 12 Top 5 finishes, Elliott could only muster a single Top 10 finish in the last few races. As reported in hendrickmotorsports.com, the #9 driver acknowledged the issues that carried over to the 2023 season. 

He said, “Looking back on it, I don’t think being out and my injury is the reason for that. As I learn more about my season and myself and how things have unfolded, I feel like my struggles and the things I’ve fought through this year I was starting to fight through last year, too. I kind of picked up where I left off last season and I was going to have those things to work through, regardless.”

However, he could also see all the ways in which the entire team had improved over the year. Even without a win, Elliott registered 5 Top 5 finishes and 6 other Top 10 finishes after his injury. Ordinarily, this performance would be acclaimed for any other driver, but only questioned in this case because of the high standards set by the skilled racer himself. 

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Nevertheless, his determination to overcome last year’s mistakes and regain previous shape signals another Championship 4 run for Chase Elliott and the #9 HMS team.

“Proud” Chase Elliott Sends Chevrolet a Message as They Win the Ultimate Honour in All 3 NASCAR Series

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Written by:

Parika Singh

246Articles

One take at a time

I began my motorsport journey in the European lanes of Formula 1, but after years of predictability, I ventured into the road courses and oval tracks of the United States. Upon discovering NASCAR, I was fascinated by the anecdotal gems waiting to be uncovered. Since I am a storyteller by heart, NASCAR gave me the perfect canvas with its cherished camaraderie and ancient rivalries.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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