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Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports agree on 4-year extension

Hendrick Motorsports has signed Chase Elliott through 2022 as part of a four-year contract extension.

Elliott, who made the NASCAR Cup playoffs as a rookie in 2016, is in position to return to the 16-driver playoff field as he is five spots ahead of the current playoff cutoff with 10 races left in the regular season and has earned the sixth-most points of any driver this year. The 2014 Xfinity Series champion, the 21-year-old Elliott has 15 top-5s in 57 career NASCAR Cup starts while still seeking his first Cup win.

"As both a driver and a person, where Chase is today at 21 years old is unbelievable," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. "With all the expectations and pressure, he's stayed focused on being himself and working as hard as he can.

"The pure driving talent has always been obvious, and he's doing so many great things off the track. He'll be a big part of our organization and our sport for many years. I'm looking forward to watching him continue to grow with us."

Elliott was signed through 2018, and there was little question that he would stay after his performance in replacing four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon.

"It means the world to me to be a part of this organization, and I couldn't be happier," Elliott said. "I wouldn't want to drive for anybody else but Hendrick Motorsports. I am very proud to be where I am, and I definitely take it upon myself to work hard and make sure I do my part for the company as we move forward."

The recent extensions of Jimmie Johnson and Elliott leave two cars solidified for Hendrick, who still has to replace the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. after this season. Hendrick also must replace Kasey Kahne's two main primary sponsors, Farmers Insurance and Great Clips, which have announced they won't return for 2018. Kahne is signed for 2018, but without sponsorship and sporting a 99-race winless streak while sitting in 21st in the standings, Hendrick could opt to release him.