Chase Elliott will take the first laps in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career at Martinsville Speedway in the STP 500 March 29.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday that Elliott would run five Sprint Cup races this year in preparation for a full-season campaign in 2016. The first of the five races will be the STP 500.
“I’m excited to go to Martinsville. Hendrick Motorsports has had a lot of success there, it’s a place they’ve had a lot of wins,” said the 19-year-old Elliott, who is the defending Xfinity Series champion. “It is certainly good to know that in the back of your mind. Also, I know when I ran Martinsville in the truck series I had a lot of room for improvement. I hope I can step up and do my job.”
Elliott made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Martinsville in 2013. He finished sixth in the first and 20th in the second.
“We're very excited for Chase Elliott to make his first career Sprint Cup start at Martinsville Speedway and I'm sure the fans are as well,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Considering how good Hendrick Motorsports has been here, combined with the talent Chase brings, I truly feel we could see him in victory lane.”
Elliott joins the team with the most Sprint Cup success at Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports has 22 Martinsville Speedway wins. His Hendrick teammates, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., have combined for 17 of them.
On the other hand Elliott’s father Bill Elliott, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night, had just three top-five finishes in 45 starts at the half-mile track.
“I’ll take advice from anyone who is willing to give it to me. My dad has always said he’s willing to offer advice and I can take it or leave it,” said Chase. “It’s great to have guys like Jeff, Jimmie and Dale who’ve all had success at Martinsville, and certainly Hendrick Motorsports as a whole.”
Johnson, who like Gordon has eight Martinsville wins, says he’ll be there to help out his newest teammate.
“We’ll see how Chase advances. I know he’s raced on all kinds of short tracks and I don’t think Martinsville will be a problem, especially with his truck experience there,” said Johnson. “We’re here for Chase and anything he needs.”
Martinsville Speedway PR