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Denny Hamlin Roasts Chase Elliott after Coca-Cola 600 Crash: He "Shouldn’t Be Racing" (UPDATED)
Joe Gibbs Racing’s star wheelman said Chase Elliott made an "unacceptable" move on purpose.
(Updated on Wednesday, May 31 with news that NASCAR has suspended Chase Elliott for one race.)
While the rain and 16 cautions couldn’t stop Ryan Blaney from finally snapping a 59-race winless streak in NASCAR’s top flight, the story from the Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina over this Memorial Day weekend was far spicier.
During Lap 186 of the event, Denny Hamlin squeezed Chase Elliott up and crowded him into the wall as the two drivers banked around Turn 4. Coming off the wall, Elliott’s nose then turned down and hit Hamlin’s back-rear passenger-side tire, spinning Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota Camry into the wall. The resulting impact compressed the former three-time Daytona 500 winner’s hood into a mangled mess. Both drivers’ vehicles were incapacitated to the point where they could not finish the race – a tough loss for Elliott who desperately needs points after being sidelined from the track for six weeks as he recovered from a snowboarding injury.
The wreck also sparked some harsh reaction.
What did Denny Hamlin say about Chase Elliott?
The co-owner of Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing held nothing back as he railed against Elliott for what he deemed to be a highly dangerous, intentional, and suspension-worthy offense.
“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightaway," Hamlin revealed to a group of reporters after the Coca-Cola 600, according to USA Today. "It’s a tantrum, and he shouldn’t be racing next week. Right rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable.”
Hamlin compares collision to Bubba Wallace intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson.
Last year’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway devolved into chaos when Bubba Wallace, seeking to retaliate against Kyle Larson for previously crowding him into a turn, hit Larson’s rear passenger-side tire, propelling him into a dangerous spin. While neither Hamlin nor Elliott exited their cars and physically shoved one another like Wallace did to Larson, Hamlin, who won the Charlotte-based event last year, said NASCAR should view his incident in the same fashion. Wallace was hit with a one-race ban.
What did Chase Elliott say about his incident with Denny Hamlin?
While Hamlin was clearly hot and bothered by the altercation with NASCAR’s most popular driver, Elliott denied any deliberate wrongdoing. Instead, he bemoaned failing to run a successful Memorial Day weekend race for the second consecutive year.
"The 11 [Hamlin] ran us up in the fence there, and once you tear the right side off these things, it's kind of over," noted Elliott on FOX. "Once you hit the wall in these things, you can't drive them anymore. Just an unfortunate circumstance."
But Hamlin isn't buying that explanation, taking to Twitter to double down on his position that Elliott intentionally hooked him. Armed with ammunition in the form of driver data, measuring such metrics as speed, throttle, braking, steering and delta time – the difference between the pre-determined lap time and the current lap time, according to World of Speed – the analytical readout photos featured in Hamlin’s post appear to support his accusations against Elliott.
“Removing all doubt,” Hamlin wrote. “His [Elliott’s] steering came back to the exact same position it had previously after we came off the wall. The higher the line on the steering the further LEFT it’s going.”
“Absolute, left hook,” he added. “Cranked the wheel 4X harder left than he did making any corner through the whole day. Bullsh*t move.”
Hamlin, of course, has been no stranger to NASCAR discipline. Earlier this year, he was slapped with a fine and points penalty for intentionally fencing Ross Chastain, then admitting as much on his podcast.