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Chase Elliott Defuses Kyle Larson Tension: "I Didn't Have the Full Picture"
"I’ll certainly take the blame for my frustrations on that front," Elliott said of his Sunday incident with Larson at Kansas Speedway. "He and I can have a conversation like adults, and it’s a non-issue."
When it comes to NASCAR’s top flight, fans were first left to read between the lines after Chase Elliott’s initial comments about his on-track incident with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Larson, at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. But Elliott has since clarified that he “didn’t have the full picture" when he expressed his initial frustration.
The drama unfolded Sunday on pit row during the Hollywood Casino 400 Cup Series race when Larson in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro tried to slip past Brad Keselowski in the No. 6 Ford Mustang as he exited his stall. Without enough room in the lane to pass Keselowski as he came out of the pits, Larson made incidental contact with his HMS teammate Elliott in the No. 9 Chevy. Elliott immediately took umbrage to the bump, and under caution, he swerved into Larson’s passenger-side door to hammer his point home, jostling Yung Money into the apron.
Then, after the race and still fuming, a noticeably irritated Elliott got out of his car, leaned through Larson’s driver-side window and seemed to give his teammate a piece of his mind.
When FOX Sports NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass asked the 27-year-old Elliott after the race what message he was trying to send Larson, the Georgia native curtly shut down what many felt was a brewing controversy, saying “There was no message... no, no, no.”
It’s worth noting that there were still just under 10 laps remaining in the race. That’s plenty of time for a spotter or teammate to radio Elliott and let him know that there was nothing to the contact, so he could cool his jets. Whether or not that message was relayed is anyone’s guess, but there’s no denying the contact rubbed No. 9 the wrong way.
But it seems Elliott may have finally gotten around to watching the tape because No. 9 took ownership for the pit row incident with Larson when he discussed it on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday.
“I didn’t have the full picture of what went on, so I was frustrated, and that stuff happens," Elliott said. "But at the end of the day, I’ll certainly take the blame for my frustrations on that front. The good news is he and I can have a conversation like adults, and it’s a non-issue. The bad news is that ... everybody ... wants to talk about it. There’s nothing to talk about. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I know you guys love your drama, but there's none here this week.”
Despite their checkered past that’s rife with more than a couple serious question marks, such as their tango at Watkins Glen last year, Elliott went on to deny the rumors that there is a rift growing between the two Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
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“I don’t feel that way at all,” added Elliott. “Our relationship’s actually been good. We’ve had a lot of dialogue. We talked about it there after the race, and that was it. There’s nothing more to really even discuss. When you talk about things, and you get the full picture of what’s going on, and you have a discussion like adults, there’s really no need for anything else, and neither he or I care about what’s said there in the weeds.”
“At the end of the day, I think we’re both pretty performance-motivated and driven, and that’s where our focus is and will continue to be.”