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With 113 laps to go, Elliott was just in front of Chastain going into the “dogleg” following a restart. When both drivers went to make the turn, Elliott thought he had room to cut left but he and Chastain ended up making contact when Chastain, the driver of Trackhouse Racing's No. 1 chose not to yield any ground. While Chastain managed to recover easily, Elliott spun out and lost positions he was never able to recover.
Chastain has faced criticism from his fellow Cup Series drivers in 2022 for his aggressive style that’s resulted in bad days for his competition. However, many fans are split over who was truly at fault for the contact that spun Elliott out. Following the race, in which Chastain finished in the third position and earned runner-up in the Cup Series, he was asked directly about the contact.
“With the 9, I feel like we got position on him, to the left side, the dogleg, and he turned left,” he told reporters.
While Chastain seems to consider the hit just racing and not his fault, Elliott seemed to immediately put the blame on his fellow “Race For The Championship” star just after the spin-out.
“Oh, he just wrecked us,” Elliott told his pit crew over the radio.
He added: “I mean, did I do something wrong there, or what?”
He was more reserved following the race, telling reporters his overwhelming emotion was disappointment.
“Just disappointed, obviously ended our day and ended our chance at a win or a championship. Just disappointing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chastain’s spirits were high after his third-position finish. Although NASCAR reports he was a mere 1.268 seconds off the back bumper of race and title winner Joey Logano, Chastain was happy with his performance in 2022.
“The emotions are surprisingly good,” Chastain said after the race. “Like, I’m not sad. I’m not upset.”
In the end, the spinout had Elliott placed in 28th position and scoring the lowest of the Championship 4 drivers. It certainly is a disappointing outcome for a driver who spent a good portion of the 2022 season as a favorite to win and repeat the success he had in 2020. Once he edged out 2021 winner, and Hendrick Motorsports team member, Kyle Larson, fans saw no other path ahead of Elliott other than Victory Lane and the championship. However, with drivers like Chastain on the track, it’s hard to predict anything too accurately.
Catch up on all the 2022 Cup Series action on “Race For The Championship” on Peacock.
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