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Rick Hendrick Drops Four-Word Message to Chase Elliott’s Crew Chief Amidst Owner Playoffs Quest

Published 09/30/2023, 7:01 PM EDT

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For years, Rick Hendrick had his eyes set on one historic milestone: 300 Cup Series wins. Mr. Hendrick’s journey began as he aimed to surpass Petty Enterprises’ legendary 269 Cup race victories. The breakthrough came in 2021 when Kyle Larson secured that coveted win at Charlotte Speedway. But for Mr H, that was just one milestone. He moved the goalposts higher, setting his sights on a staggering 300 Cup Series victories for the Hendrick Motorsports banner.

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Enter William Byron and his masterclass at the Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, where capitalizing on a late-race restart, Byron left the race leaders in the dust as he claimed the chequered flag. Amidst the celebrations, Rick Hendrick’s eyes have not strayed away from the 2023 championship. Starting the season limping, with 2 out of 4 drivers missing from race weekends, Rick Hendrick has bellowed a wake-up call to his camp.

Rick Hendrick’s rallying cry to the #9 team


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The 2023 season took an unexpected turn for Hendrick Motorsports’ star driver, Chase Elliott. The man who was poised to charge through the season, gunning for his second Cup Series championship, found himself in the pits, due to a fractured tibia that would sideline him for six races.

It was a disastrous regular season for Elliott and the #9 team that saw them drop out of the playoffs and driver championship contention. For team owner Rick Hendrick, it was a heartbreaking turn of events. However, Mr H remains resilient, focused on ensuring that Elliott concludes the year on a high note, while also leveraging the remaining races as a launching pad for the upcoming season.


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In a recent interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive,” Hendrick emphasized his support for Elliott and the team. “You just have to put your arm around them and say look, ‘this happened. Now let’s get ready for next year. Let’s see if we can get better every single week as the year goes on. These races that are left. Let’s see if we can get in the top 10, get in the top five and win a race.'”

Hendrick’s unwavering support extends to Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson. He had a resounding verdict, “Just do your job. To Alan [Gustafson] and Blake [Harris, crew chief for Alex Bowman], we have to say guys, ‘we are 100 percent behind you. We know this is going to work. We just got to keep our heads up. There’s no pressure. Just do your job and let’s just take incremental steps, and we’ll get there.'”

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Amidst the NASCAR postseason buzz, Chase Elliott’s name continues to echo loudly, despite his absence from the championship hunt. All thanks to the stark turnaround in his fortunes & performance. While the regular season was plagued by misfortunes and disappointments, Elliott and the #9 team have executed a stunning reversal. Now, they’re playing the ultimate “uno reverse card” to their earlier setbacks.


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Chase Elliott and #9 team’s resurgent streak claims a shot at the owner’s championship

After a regular season that was worth forgetting, the Georgia native has maintained an impressive streak. Since that pivotal race, Elliott has consistently secured top-10 finishes, with the exception of a recent 11th-place finish in Texas. In the last five races, Elliott boasts the second-best average finish of 7.20 and the fifth-highest points tally of 178. This remarkable performance has propelled his #9 team to be one of the top dogs of the owners’ championships. Currently, they occupy the fourth position.

Elliott revealed that his approach to the owner playoffs mirrors his approach to the driver playoffs. As per, he said, “It’s kind of surprised me in a way because obviously there is a lot of talk about the driver side and there is not really a lot of talk about the owner’s front,” Elliott commented, adding, “Once the deal got started, I don’t feel any different than I have felt in years past. It still keeps us very motivated and keeps me motivated to want to go and do a good job. Now that we are here, it feels like another playoff year really in our approach and my approach.”


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As the 2023 season winds down, all eyes are on NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, hoping for a triumphant return to victory lane.

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Written by:

Rashi Shetty


One take at a time

Rashi Shetty is a NASCAR author at EssentiallySports. Her passion for the sport extends beyond the thrill of on-track racing, as she finds the behind-the-scenes aspects of car development and sportsmanship equally captivating. Her favorite motorsports moment of 2023 is the NASCAR Garage 56 entry at Le Mans.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal