The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion is pulling double-duty at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott will serve as a last-minute replacement for JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett and will be behind the wheel of the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro for the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.
According to “Motorsport.com,” regular driver Michael Annett took part in two laps of practice on Friday, Aug. 13. However, the team later announced that he would not compete in the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis as he continues to recover from a leg injury. Annett missed two races — Atlanta and New Hampshire Motor Speedway — after suffering a stress fracture in his right femur and undergoing surgery.
Cup Series driver Austin Dillon replaced Annett at Atlanta and JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry replaced him at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, keeping the No. 1 Chevrolet in the playoff picture. Annett received clearance to return to his stock car after a two-week break for the Olympics, and he raced his way to an 11th-place finish.
The Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard will take place on Saturday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will provide coverage as Elliott takes on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in his career.
Elliott Will Have to Fight for Position Early at Indianapolis
Elliott turned in the 25th-fastest time in qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 14, making his way around the Indianapolis road course in 91.779 seconds. However, he will have to start at the rear of the field due to NASCAR rules concerning a driver change.
Elliott is no stranger to starting from the rear of the field and fighting for the win, albeit in a different stock car. He most recently competed at Watkins Glen International and had to rebound from a penalty that dropped him in the lineup alongside Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell.
Despite receiving the infraction and making an unscheduled pit stop for new tires, Elliott still raced his way into contention for the win during the final 10 laps. He erased a 10-second Kyle Larson lead and passed Martin Truex Jr. to move into second, but he could not fully track down the No. 5 before the end of the race. Elliott finished second at the road course and will now strive to lock up a win for JRM, albeit at a track where he has never competed before.
Elliott Has Remained Away From the Xfinity Series Since Joining Cup
The defending Cup Series champion kicked off his Xfinity Series career with two full-time seasons (2014 and 2015). He won three races and finished in the top five 16 times for JR Motorsports during his rookie year and then added another win to his total in 2015 by taking the checkered flag at Richmond.
Elliott moved up to the Cup Series on a full-time basis in 2016 and joined Hendrick Motorsports. He still continued to make sporadic starts in Xfinity for multiple teams. He started six races for JRM in 2016, registering a win at Daytona International Speedway to kick off the year. He made another start for the team in 2018 and then partnered with GMS Racing for another seven starts.
The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro has only made one other start in the Xfinity Series since the 2018 season. He returned to JRM at Daytona International Speedway and kicked off the 2019 season with a top-10 finish at the World Center of Racing.