Hendrick Motorsports has tapped Josh Berry, a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, and renowned road racer Jordan Taylor to serve as the interim drivers of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro while the team's primary driver Chase Elliott recovers from surgery following a broken left tibia.
According to an update from Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday, Elliott is expected to be out for a total of six weeks with his injury.
Berry will run this weekend's United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway as well as the other oval events that Elliott misses, while Taylor is slated to pilot the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro at Circuit of the Americas.
While the team expects Elliott to return after six weeks, team owner Rick Hendrick says the team is focused on the health of Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, and says that the team will take as long as it needs to ensure Elliott is at full strength.
"We’re focused on getting Chase back to 100%, so we’ll take however much time is necessary and make sure he has the best resources available," said Hendrick. "Josh was impressive this weekend under difficult circumstances, and we look forward to having him drive the oval tracks until Chase is able to return. Jordan is a world-class road racer and has recently been working with our Garage 56 team preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’ll be able to step in and do a great job at COTA."
Berry was a last-minute substitute for the organization at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a week ago, finishing 29th, two laps down, but it was a decent effort considering he was thrust into action unexpectedly and had never turned a lap in the Next Gen car prior to Saturday's practice session at LVMS.
The 32-year-old Berry is a full-time competitor for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Taylor is a competitor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Corvette Racing. While Taylor has never competed in a NASCAR Cup Series event, the road racer has two wins at Circuit of the Americas in four starts in the IMSA Series.
The road racing star took to Twitter to explain that, while he isn't a fan of how the opportunity came together, he's honored to wheel a Hendrick Motorsports race car around COTA.
Elliott, who is typically behind the wheel of the No. 9 for Hendrick Motorsports, suffered the leg injury while snowboarding in Colorado last Friday.
Elliott underwent a successful three-hour surgery on Friday evening to fix his fractured tibia and was released from the hospital on Saturday. Elliott has been recovering in Colorado, where he was scheduled to begin physical therapy on Monday.
In a press conference on Saturday, Jeff Andrews, President and General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports, explicitly stated that there is no timeline for when Elliott will return to action, but mentioned that the expectation was for the sport's Most Popular Driver to be sidelined for multiple weeks.
Photo Credit: Tim Parks/HHP for Chevy Racing