Chase Elliott says contract extension was about Rick Hendrick’s faith in him

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Because of Rick Hendrick’s vested interest in him, Chase Elliott never had any interest to explore driving for another team in the Monster Energy Cup Series.

“What he’s done for me and really just believing in me from the time I met him for some reason and still does and continued to prove that as time has gone along,” Elliott said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. “I owe an awful lot to him not just for the opportunities he’s given me but just the faith he’s had in me over the years. Even when nobody else does, he does, and he’s made that aware and very apparent for everybody else to see. That means a lot for anybody. You don’t see people like that in this world very often these days that are willing to go out of their way to help you.

“He’s one of those guys. I’m very lucky to have him on my team.”

Hendrick Motorsports announced a contract extension Tuesday through the 2022 season for Elliott, who was signed as a teenager by the team in 2011 and progressed through the K&N Series and a 2014 Xfinity Series championship with Hendrick-affiliated JR Motorsports in 2014.

Hendrick promoted Elliott, 21, to Cup in 2016, replacing Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet, but the team owner believed as early as three years earlier that his driver could finish in the top 20 of a Cup race.

Those words and commitment apparently resonated with Elliott, who replied “Why would you?” when asked if he had considered options besides Hendrick.

“(Hendrick has) been so good to me. Why would you” talk to anyone else, Elliott said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. “At the end of the day, a guy that’s been so consistent and stood by his word since Day 1, that in itself is enough to stay true to him. I haven’t had any interest and don’t (in other teams). I’m very happy to be where I am.”