It’s official: Chase Elliott to replace Jeff Gordon in No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy

Chase Elliott has been named the full-time driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the 2016 season, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. 

Jared C. Tilton

In what is probably the least surprising news of the week, Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday morning that Chase Elliott will replace Jeff Gordon in the team’s iconic No. 24 Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, starting in 2016.

Gordon said last week that this will be his final full-time Cup season.

Alan Gustafon, crew chief of the No. 24 for Gordon, will remain in that position when Elliott takes over. Gustafson has 19 race victories, 18 poles, 98 top-fives and 165 top-10s as a Cup crew chief.

The Hendrick team has a 3 p.m. press conference scheduled from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. The event will be streamed live on FOXSports.com.

Elliott, who last year became the youngest NASCAR Touring Series champion in history, will run five Cup races this year in the No. 25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy with Kenny Francis as his crew chief. Elliott will race March 29 at Martinsville Speedway, April 25 at Richmond International Raceway, May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway.

"Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick in a new release issued Thursday morning. "Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there’s a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase’s personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors. He’s a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There’s a lot to be excited about."

Elliott is the first driver in NASCAR history to win a championship and rookie of the year honors in the same season, and was voted by fans as the most popular NXS driver.

Hendrick Motorsports will announce sponsorship for Elliott’s 2016 Sprint Cup season at a later date. 

VIDEO: 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott