What happened: Hendrick Motorsports signed Chase Elliott to a contract extension through 2022, adding four years to his current deal. He originally had a three-year contract, which would have expired after next season.
What it means: As expected, Elliott is going to be at Hendrick for a long time. Though Jimmie Johnson has indicated he’ll be around for a few more seasons, this sets up Elliott to become the face of Hendrick as the next decade approaches. It’s easy to picture Elliott spending his entire career with the team if circumstances allow.
News value (scale of 1-10): Three. It’s not at all surprising Elliott would remain in the No. 24 car, given how quickly he’s shown talent at the Cup level — along with his popularity, sponsor friendliness and relationship with the team. But as with Joey Logano — who signed a long-term deal with Team Penske in February — the news is notable in part due to the length of the contract (since drivers typically sign up for three years at a time).
Questions: Will the security of a long-term deal change anything in terms of the pressure Elliott puts on himself? How many wins will Elliott and the No. 24 team get during this contract? Who will Elliott’s teammates be in 2022?