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NASCAR suspends star driver Chase Elliott for deliberately ramming into Denny Hamlin

NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott for one race on Tuesday, less than a day after the five-time most popular driver and former Cup champion deliberately destroyed Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement it will not appeal the suspension and Corey Lajoie will replace Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet this weekend at Gateway, outside St. Louis.

“We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement.

AUTO: MAY 29 NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600
Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Patriotic Chevrolet) looks on prior to the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 29, 2023 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Jeffrey Jacket/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Elliott denied deliberately crashing into Hamlin with a dangerous left hook into Hamlin’s car during the rescheduled race in the rain Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Hamlin countered with simulated data he posted on social media after the crash, saying the data removed “any doubt” that the crash was deliberate. He then doubled down on calls for Elliott to be suspended from his Tuesday podcast.

Hamlin owns the car driven by Bubba Wallace, who was suspended from a race last year for deliberately hitting Kyle Larson in a race in Las Vegas. The move is considered one of the most dangerous in NASCAR.

NASCAR suspended Elliott under a section of the rulebook covered by the “Member Code of Conduct.” Among the rules covered by this section is “unsafe elimination of another competitor from the championship in an unsafe manner when not racing for a position based on available evidence and the specific circumstances of the incident” .

“This was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion after considering all available resources,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said on Sirius NASCAR Radio.

Hamlin said he was so pissed at the wreck he wanted to fight Elliott, saying his counterpart had a “tantrum” on the track and “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right back hooks are absolutely unacceptable.”

Elliott, the 2020 Cup champion and son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, has denied intentionally destroying Hamlin.

“Once you hit the wall in these things, you can’t drive them anymore,” Elliott said after stepping out of the field care center on Monday. “So unfortunately no, no, just an unfortunate circumstance.”

Hamlin on his podcast, “Harmful Actions,” said Tuesday that Elliott’s act was an absolutely deliberate reward for prior contact between the two.

“There’s no explanation he can give why he had no reason to stay on the left. You know he obviously didn’t want to admit it,” Hamlin said.

“I pointed out in the data I tweeted that once he went into the wall, there was nothing wrong with his car. He turned the steering wheel right, like he was going down right away, and you can tell by the data whether or not you’ve got toe link damage,” Hamlin continued. “Everybody’s hitting the wall. But he threw a hissing fit and he just hooked us left in the most dangerous part of the racetrack that you could possibly and that ended my day and his, and in my opinion he doesn’t shouldn’t be racing next weekend. Because NASCAR set a precedent last year about that.”

The loss of Elliott could impact television ratings and attendance this weekend. He is the most popular fan-elected driver in the past five years.

After Elliott broke his leg in a snowboarding incident, the sport’s ratings plummeted.

Elliott underwent surgery on his left leg in Colorado almost immediately after his accident, and he then spent March and early April rehabilitating in Colorado as well as in his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia, CBS Sports reported. .

Elliott defended his decision to snowboard ahead of a race weekend, saying he believed he would continue snowboarding as a training tool, CBS Sports reported.


When Elliott was deemed healthy enough to race in Martinsville, NASCAR recognized his importance and was quick to promote his comeback on social media and with ads.

Because he had already missed so many races due to his leg injury, Elliott was already in a deep hole to make the playoffs. Elliott was ranked 29th after Saturday night, and the top 16 drivers qualify for the playoffs. A victory is automatically worth a place. The suspension marks seven missed races by Elliott.

Elliott will certainly have to win his first race of the season upon his return from suspension to have a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

Before the suspension was announced, Hamlin implored NASCAR to “do the right thing” on his podcast.

“Be consistent here. It’s time to make the right decision. You can’t give any excuses,” Hamlin added. “He was going straight and then all of a sudden he turns 120 degrees left with the steering wheel. It’s not an accident. It’s intentional.”

Hamlin called the move immature.

“It’s childish and it bothers me,” Hamlin said. “You have to be better than that. I don’t care. What goes through your mind to think it’s the right decision to make, I don’t know.”

Hamlin also said on his podcast that as a car owner he wanted to see Wallace focus on his achievements on the track, which includes four top-five finishes in the last four races, rather than making it the news.

Wallace was seen arguing during a Monday rain delay with Aric Almirola, who pushed Wallace before the two were separated by NASCAR security. A week earlier, Wallace had come under fire for using an obscene gesture in a TV interview after the All-Star run.

NASCAR did not punish Wallace, saying the incident was not malicious.

“It’s old fashioned,” Hamlin said of the hand gesture. “Whoever’s still doing it has to stop. Stop doing it. It’s childish. … It’s just not worth it.”


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