Why he agreed to a long-term extension with Hendrick – The Athletic

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FONTANA, Calif. — The brim of Chase Elliott’s NAPA hat fluttered in the strong wind, but the cap remained firmly attached to his head.

Elliott, like his hat, isn’t going anywhere. The 26-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver recently signed a five-year contract extension with the team, ensuring Elliott will stay with Hendrick well into his thirties – and possibly beyond.

Such a long-term contract is an anomaly in today’s NASCAR, where teams are leveraged and drivers more often find themselves on year-to-year contracts. But both Elliott and Hendrick were keen on extending their marriage into the future.

Why such a long commitment? The 2020 Cup Series champion answered that question and more during a chat with The Athletic on Saturday morning.

At the beginning of your career, you wanted to find a place where you would feel at home. How is it going to make this a reality for you?

That’s really all you can ask for when you’re in a world like this. Things always change. Obviously, performance is a priority for me; I want to feel like I’m doing my part. We’ve been blessed with a couple of good years, and that’s something I really think we can build on.

Rick (Hendrick) has been amazing with me and given me opportunities that I don’t know if I would have ever had if he hadn’t come when he did. To start this journey with him, then continue it for several more years and hopefully end it there with him – at least that is my intention. I hope we can do just that.

It’s so hard to predict what everything will look like in five years. There is no guarantee of what the performance will be like when you reach such a long deal. How do you feel comfortable with this large number of years?

There are two factors in that. I know Rick wants to win.

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