Chase Elliott set for Daytona Truck Series race

Bill McAnally, the owner of McAnally Hilgemann Racing (MHR), has chosen the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott, the five-time Most Popular Driver fan vote winner, to drive the No. 35 Gates Hydraulics/NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) debut at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17.

It also kicks off the 33rd year of MHR’s collaboration with NAPA and NAPA Auto Care. Elliott makes his 18th career start in NCTS competition at the season opener at the World Center of Racing. At age 17 Chase Elliott became the youngest winner in the Truck Series’ history with the first of his three NCTS career victories in 2013.

At the truck level, Elliott has three victories, winning in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, in 2017 at Martinsville Speedway, and in 2020 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. According to the statement Chase Elliott gave out he said

“This will be the first time I’ve driven a truck at Daytona, let alone a superspeedway. There’s no better team owner than Bill McAnally to do it with as he’s been involved in racing and been associated with NAPA for a long time.”

Last year, Chase Elliott only had one start, coming in seventh in the Bristol Dirt race. Elliott will operate the No. 35 truck for the team. On March 3 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Jake Garcia will take over the truck.

Given that Garcia has followed Elliott’s career route through Ricky Turner’s Georgia-based asphalt late model program, the two Peach State natives have similar professional histories. Bill McAnally stated that

“I think there’s an incredible amount of potential for our team to make a lot of noise this year, and we have the people to make it happen. We’re thrilled to have Chase step in and drive our No. 35 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet at Daytona, and everyone involved in our program is excited and glad that he’s able to do so. I think his presence at Daytona will benefit Jake and our entire group.”

The Establishment of the MHR crew chief lineup and leadership positions.

MHR has firmly established its crew chief lineup and executive posts. Starting in 2022, MHR will continue to have the same crew chief lineup, with Mark Hillman guiding Elliott, Garcia, and the No. 35 squad from the top of the pit box. Hillman has been a crew chief at MHR for three years; in the 2022 season, he oversaw Colby Howard and the No. 91 team.

Christian Eckes and the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care team will continue to be under Charles Denike’s direction. In 2022, Denike joined MHR in the middle of the season. During the following nine races, he guided the No. 19 team and Derek Kraus to three top-10 results, and in September of that year, they won the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway. Denike has two NCTS victories to his name, one of which came in 2020 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Elliott.

Chad Norris has joined MHR as the new general manager, effective right away. Norris, who has several years of experience as a leader and crew chief, joins the company from GMS Racing. Norris, who has won in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NCTS, will be in charge of MHR’s NCTS operation in Statesville, North Carolina.

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