NAPA's hiatus from NASCAR didn't really become one at all.
After announcing that it was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the season because of the race manipulation allegations at Richmond, the auto parts company will sponsor Chase Elliott full-time in the Nationwide Series in 2014.
Elliott will drive the No. 9 for JR Motorsports.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Elliott said in a release. “My family and I are still trying to believe it all. I couldn’t ask to be partnered with anyone better than Dale Jr., Kelley and Mr. Hendrick, along with all of the people at their organizations who have put in countless hours to pull this together.
“Working with NAPA will be an honor. They’ve had a tremendous impact in NASCAR, and I’m proud to represent their brand, on and off the track, to race fans. I’m extremely pumped to get to work in 2014 with that first trip to Daytona and make the most of this opportunity.”
Elliott, the son of Bill Elliott, was signed by Hendrick Motorsports as a developmental driver in 2011. He won the Camping World Truck Series race at MoSport in August when he had contact with Ty Dillon on the final corner.
His move to the Nationwide Series full-time means that JR Motorsports will field three cars in 2014. In addition to Elliott, JR Motorsports will have Regan Smith driving full-time and a car that's shared by Kevin Harvick and others. Elliott will also be keeping the No. 9 in the family. Bill drove that number for much of Sprint Cup Series career with Harry Melling and Ray Evernham.
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