Chase Elliott will compete full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports in 2014 and do so with NAPA AUTO PARTS as his full-season primary sponsor, the team announced Monday in a press release. Elliott, the son of 1988 Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, will drive the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet, a number most often associated with his father.
With Elliott as its driver, the 2014 season will mark NAPA’s 19th in NASCAR sponsorship. NAPA headquarters is in Atlanta, just a short distance from Elliott’s hometown of Dawsonville, Ga.
“NAPA is pleased to continue its long standing involvement in NASCAR, the most popular form of motorsports in the United States supported by its many loyal and passionate fans,” commented Dan Askey, President of NAPA, in the release.
In a media teleconference also on Monday, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, General Manager of JR Motorsports, said the team is excited to partner with Elliott.
“You know, it adds another opportunity for us to contend for the Nationwide title as we see it,” Earnhardt Miller said. “We have Regan Smith in the 7 car battling, and Chase, as well, in a full-time effort. Just really makes the lineup for JR Motorsports the strongest we've probably been in our -- the strongest lineup we've had in the Nationwide Series so we can compete for wins each week.”
JR Motorsports will also field two partial-schedule teams – the No. 5 with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and the No. 88 with Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Greg Ives will serve as Elliott’s crew chief on the No. 9, with Ryan Pemberton taking over the No. 7 and Ernie Cope the No. 5.
“This will be the strongest line-up we’ve put on the track since we started racing full time in 2006,” said Earnhardt Miller. “We experienced very big gains this past year by all our teams and drivers. Regan tied our best-ever finish in points, and we won two races. We pride ourselves on competing for wins, and all four of our drivers are capable of doing that any given week.”
Elliott will begin his duties immediately with testing scheduled for Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.