Chase Elliott Remains Playoff Eligible After Suspension

Getty Chase Elliott climbs into the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro at Talladega Superspeedway.

Chase Elliott will miss the race at World Wide Technology Raceway while serving a one-race suspension for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin. He will still remain eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

NASCAR confirmed on June 1 that it had granted a waiver to the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. This means that he can still secure a spot in the playoffs through a win, which would extend his streak to eight years.

Elliott first made the playoffs as a rookie in 2016, and he has continued to make appearances while reaching the championship four three times and winning the title in 2020.

NASCAR has specific rules in place for its playoffs. Drivers across the three national series must attempt to qualify for every race on the schedule in order to be eligible, or they must have a waiver that accounts for any absences.

Elliott Receives His Second Waiver of 2023

GettyChase Elliott (right) has 4 top-10 finishes in 2023.

The Georgia native entered the 2023 season having suited up for every race of his full-time career. He had started 277 races — 272 as a full-time driver — and he had delivered 18 wins to Hendrick Motorsports.

The situation changed early in 2023. Elliott started the first two races of the season, but he then suffered a fractured tibia in a snowboarding accident in Colorado. He had to miss six races while recovering from the injury, which led to Josh Berry replacing him in the No. 9 Chevrolet.

Elliott returned for another six races before receiving the one-race suspension. Now he will step away once again while Corey LaJoie replaces him in the Cup Series entry.

NASCAR has now granted Elliott two waivers that will keep him playoff eligible during the 2023 Cup Series season. The first was for medical reasons while the second was for his behavioral suspension.

Wins Are More Important for Elliott

GettyA Denny Hamlin fan (left) & a Chase Elliott fan (right) watch the Coca-Cola 600.

Elliott is currently 28th in the standings as his peers prepare for the trip to World Wide Technology Raceway. He is 81 points behind teammate Alex Bowman, who sits on the cutline after making his own return from an injury.

This means that Elliott is unlikely to secure his spot on points, but he will have 11 more opportunities to secure the all-important win. NASCAR did away with the rule stating that drivers must be top 30 in points to reach the playoffs during the offseason, so all Elliott has to do is win before the playoffs begin in September.

There are several favorable tracks for Elliott as he pursues the all-important win. He still has a trip to Watkins Glen International on the schedule, a track where he has two wins. He will also return to Nashville Superspeedway, Pocono Raceway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway while pursuing additional wins at these ovals.

Of course, the first race on Elliott’s schedule will be Sonoma Raceway. This California road course is a track where the Georgia native has made eight starts in the Cup Series, and he has delivered some solid performances.

Elliott has not won at Sonoma Raceway, but he has four top-10 finishes and two top-fives. The highlight is a runner-up behind teammate Kyle Larson during the 2021 Cup Series season.


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