NASCAR Suspends Chase Elliott After Coca-Cola 600

Getty Chase Elliott (right) wrecked Denny Hamlin (left).

NASCAR has announced penalties for Chase Elliott wrecking Denny Hamlin at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The sanctioning body has suspended the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.

According to the weekly penalty report, NASCAR determined that Elliott hooking Denny Hamlin into the outside wall during the Coca-Cola 600 was a violation of the NASCAR Rule Book, Sections 4.3.A; 4.4.C & E: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct. As a result, Elliott will miss the World Wide Technology Raceway race on Sunday, June 4.

“After looking at all of the available resources, in-car camera, data, SMT — which basically gives us steering, gives us throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR SVP of Competition, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on May 30.

“We have great racing on the race track, we have phenomenal athletes that are driving these cars. And in the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way.”

“We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement. “The penalty will not be appealed, and we will submit a formal request for a playoff waiver.”

Hendrick Motorsports Named a Replacement Driver

GettyChase Elliott prepares for practice at Dover Motor Speedway.

With Elliott set to miss the trip to the St. Louis area, Hendrick Motorsports will have to turn to another driver. However, Josh Berry will not be the one that takes control of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro as he has at previous points of the season. He will be in Portland for the Xfinity Series race.

According to the HMS statement, Corey LaJoie will actually replace Elliott. He will move over from his No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro at Spire Motorsports, and he will make his first start in top-tier equipment.

“We’re always happy to help our friends at Hendrick Motorsports and couldn’t be prouder to see Corey LaJoie get the opportunity of a lifetime to race a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet,” said Spire co-owner Jeff Dickerson in a statement.

LaJoie secured this replacement role the same day that he came to Elliott’s defense. He said during his weekly appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that his fellow driver should not receive a one-race suspension like Bubba Wallace did when he wrecked Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2022.

“I don’t think it’s the same scenario. I don’t,” LaJoie said. “And I don’t believe that Chase should be suspended. I don’t agree with it. I don’t like it. It’s not a good look. But then again, the [No.] 5 squeezed Bubba into the fence more egregiously than the [No.] 11 stuck the [No.] 9 in the fence in this instance.

“I don’t think it’s the same, I don’t think it should be governed the same. I do believe that it should be kind of judged in the vacuum of the scenario, what led up to it, post-race comments, and things like that.”

Elliott Will Miss Another Race on the 2023 Cup Series Schedule

GettyCorey LaJoie prepares for a race at Dover Motor Speedway.

With Elliott receiving a one-race suspension, he is now set to miss out on even more points. He already missed six races earlier in the season while recovering from an injury.

The 2020 Cup Series champion started the first two races of the 2023 season, but he then missed six consecutive races after fracturing a tibia in a snowboarding accident in Colorado. Berry replaced him in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro as he underwent surgery to repair the damage and completed his rehab.

Elliott returned to action for the April race at Martinsville Speedway, and he has since started five other points-paying races. Now, however, he will miss his seventh race of the 2023 season while serving his one-race suspension.

Elliott is currently 29th in the Cup Series standings with 12 races remaining in the regular season. He is 81 points behind the cutline and teammate Alex Bowman, who made his own return to the Cup Series after recovering from a fractured vertebra.

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Kelli Martin
Kelli Martin
4 months ago

i don’t agree with nascars disction i think with chase be shound this week and he was out back in april for his fractuing tibia and recovering from a fractured vertebra. he is a good driver denny hamlin is cry baby all the time .