NASCAR officials have decided to suspend driver Chase Elliott as the result of the former Cup champion intentionally wrecking fellow driver Denny Hamlin at this week’s Coca-Cola 600.
According to a statement issued by Hendrick Motorsports, they do not intend on appealing the decision, and will now have teammate Corey Lajoie replace Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet at this upcoming Enjoy Illinois 300 race.
“We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating,” said Hendrick Motorsports.
Elliott in post-race interviews adamantly denied any deliberate wrongdoing, and that the crash was nothing more than a mistake.
After the crash on Monday, Denny Hamlin expressed his frustration towards Elliott after an incident. Hamlin claimed that on Lap 186, Elliott made deliberate contact with his car, causing him to collide with the wall. Hamlin referred to Elliott’s actions as a “tantrum” and even suggested that Elliott should not be allowed to drive in the next race. Hamlin compared the incident to a previous one involving Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson, stating that such right-rear hooks are unacceptable.
Elliott maintains that Hamlin ran him into the fence, and once the right side of the cars is damaged, it becomes difficult to continue driving. Both Hamlin and Elliott were evaluated by medical personnel and subsequently released from the care center.
NASCAR’s decision to suspend Elliott was based on his violation of the “Member Code of Conduct” in the official NASCAR rule book. The section states that “removing another competitor from the championship contention in a dangerous manner when not racing for position based on the available evidence and specific circumstances of the incident.”
“It was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion in our view after reviewing all of the available resources,” stated NASCAR senior Vice President of competition Elton Sawyer.
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