Kyle Larson, flashing his new Rolex watch, was unfazed Thursday after learning Chase Elliott was going to replace Jeff Gordon in the iconic No. 24. Many NASCAR fans have believed that Larson was the heir apparent to the four-time champion, a notion Gordon fueled with constant praise of the reigning Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year. Only Larson drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, and says he is happy right where he is behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet. Gordon announced last week that 2015 will be his last in the car, and Hendrick Motorsports has named 19-year-old Elliott has his replacement.
Chase Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevrolet when the four-time NASCAR champion gives up his seat at the end of this season. The announcement Thursday was expected because Elliott is the reigning Xfinity Series champion and one of NASCAR's most promising young talents. Hendrick Motorsports had to find a seat for him at NASCAR's top level or risk losing the 19-year-old to another organization in 2016. ''Chase is extraordinary,'' Gordon told AP of Elliott, who is the youngest champion in the history of NASCAR's second-tier series.
Sam Hornish Jr. is finally back in the Sprint Cup Series after a four-year absence, in a ride Richard Petty Motorsports insists it is committed to fielding for the entire year. Twisted Tea will sponsor the Daytona 500 and the July race at Daytona International Raceway, and team co-owner Andrew Murstein is willing to provide some funding through his Medallion Bank. Hornish replaced Marcos Ambrose in the No. 9 Ford, and is teammates with Aric Almirola, who made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship last season. Hornish, a three-time IndyCar champion and the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner, has not had the same success since Roger Penske brought him to NASCAR following the 2007 IndyCar season.
NASCAR Hall of Famer and former three-time Cup champion David Pearson is recovering from a mild stroke he suffered on Dec. 9. Pearson's family released a statement Wednesday that says he is ''doing great and well on the road to recovery.'' The statement said the 80-year-old Pearson is ''80 to 85 percent back to normal'' and a full recovery is expected soon.