NASCAR driver Chase Elliott has been suspended after officials ruled he crashed into another driver on purpose.
Elliott will have to sit out one race for his actions on Monday night, when he hit the rear of Denny Hamlin’s car and sent Hamlin headfirst into the outside wall at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
The pair were racing side by side on lap 186 when Elliott appeared to hook the right bumper of Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota. The hit resulted in Hamlin’s car being totalled and took him out of the race.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 29, 2023
Elliott’s car also sustained significant damage and he exited the race, too.
An incensed Hamlin called for NASCAR to suspend Elliott, a driver for Hendrick Motorsports, on Monday.
“It’s a tantrum and he shouldn’t be racing next week,” Hamlin told reporters, saying he believed Elliott intentionally hit him because Hamlin forced him into the outside wall on a squeeze. “Right rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. I don’t care.”
Elliott denied trying to deliberately wreck Hamlin’s race.
“Once you hit the wall in these things, you can’t drive them anymore,” Elliott said. “So unfortunately not, no, just an unfortunate circumstance.”
Elliott, the most popular driver on the NASCAR circuit, will miss the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday, making it the seventh race he’s missed this season.
He missed six races earlier this year when he broke his tibia in a Colorado snowboarding accident.
Hamlin immediately pointed to last year’s race at Las Vegas when Bubba Wallace, who drives for Hamlin’s 23XI Racing team, was suspended for one race by NASCAR after it was determined he intentionally wrecked the car of Elliott’s teammate, Kyle Larson. Wallace also threw punches at Larson after the race.
“It’s the same thing Bubba Wallace did with Kyle Larson,” Hamlin said. “Exact same. He shouldn’t be racing. It’s a tantrum.”
Hamlin didn’t let up there, posting a simulation of the incident on his Twitter account after the wreck.
“Removing all doubt. His steering came back to the exact same position it had previously after we came off the wall. The higher the line on steering the further LEFT it’s going,” Hamlin wrote.
Removing all doubt. His steering came back to the exact same position it had previously after we came off the wall.
The higher the line on steering the further LEFT it’s going. pic.twitter.com/DKo7mrLz28
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) May 29, 2023
NASCAR made the suspension official on Tuesday, reports Fox News, saying Elliott broke Member Code of Conduct sections 4.3.A. and 4.4.C and D.
“Drivers need to understand they have to handle that a complete different way,” NASCAR senior vice-president of competition Elton Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
— With files from The Associated Press
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