Mooresville, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - JR Motorsports announced on Monday that Chase Elliott will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet full-time, with NAPA Auto Parts serving as his team's primary sponsor, for the 2014 Nationwide Series season.
Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, competed in nine Camping World Truck Series races last year. At age 17, he became the youngest driver to win a truck race this past September at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. On Nov. 28, Elliott turned 18 years old, making him eligible for competition in Nationwide.
The No. 9 will be the same number his father had throughout most of his storied career in NASCAR's premier series.
JRM, which is co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick, will have two full-time teams in Nationwide for the upcoming season. Regan Smith will continue to drive the No. 7 Chevrolet.
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," Chase Elliott said. "My family and I are still trying to believe it all. I couldn't ask to be partnered with anyone better than Dale Jr., Kelley and Mr. Hendrick, along with all of the people at their organizations who have put in countless hours to pull this together."
The 2014 season will mark NAPA's 19th year in NASCAR sponsorship. The automotive replacement parts and accessories retailer is headquartered in Atlanta, just a short distance from Elliott's hometown of Dawsonville, GA.
"Chase Elliott is a young and talented, future star in the sport and will represent NAPA well both on and off the track," said Dan Askey, president of NAPA. "We welcome Chase and the entire JR Motorsports organization to the NAPA family."
NAPA most recently sponsored Martin Truex Jr.'s team at Michael Waltrip Racing but ended its long-time partnership with Waltrip and his racing organization at the conclusion of the 2013 season due to MWR manipulating the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond to get Truex into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Elliott was signed by Hendrick in 2011. He scored his first NASCAR K&N Series win at Iowa in May 2012 and became the youngest superspeedway winner in ARCA Series history at Pocono last June.
"Chase has been extremely successful, and I think the Nationwide Series is only a short step for him," Earnhardt Jr said. "With the infrastructure we have at JR Motorsports and our close-working partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, we have every opportunity to continue Chase's development as a driver while contending for a championship. He's that good."
Greg Ives will serve as crew chief for Elliott's No. 9 team, while Ryan Pemberton will replace Ives in the role for Smith's No. 7 team. JRM will also field two part-time teams in Nationwide -- the No. 5 with Kevin Harvick and the No. 88 with Earnhardt Jr.
"This will be the strongest line-up we've put on the track since we started racing full-time in 2006," said Earnhardt Miller, who also serves as general manager for JRM. "We experienced very big gains this past year by all our teams and drivers. Regan tied our best-ever finish in points (third), and we won two races. We pride ourselves on competing for wins, and all four of our drivers are capable of doing that any given week."