The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion and a four-time U.S. Rallycross champion just turned heads with a wild race in Florida. Chase Elliott and Tanner Foust faced off in what was a memorable, albeit controversial, battle during the first day of the Nitro Rallycross finale weekend.
The two veteran drivers took part in a battle bracket race at The Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park on December 4. They lined up at the part asphalt-part dirt track and waited for the green light. Once the race began, Foust jumped to the lead and began to put distance between himself and Elliott during the alternate Joker route and throughout the first lap.
The four-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver began to make moves at the end of the second lap, rotating his car like a veteran Rallycross driver and bumping the rear of Foust’s supercar. Elliott then made his move on the final lap, colliding with Foust on the final turn and taking the lead before crossing the finish line. Though he did not have the opportunity to relish the victory.
The race stewards examined the collision between Elliott and Foust and determined that it was not incidental contact. They ruled it as a push-to-pass move after the replay showed that Elliott’s nose collided with the side of Foust’s supercar. The stewards reversed the race outcome and gave the victory to Foust.
Elliott explained in his post-race interview that he got a little aggressive during the turn and that he didn’t quite have the angle he needed to make the pass cleanly. Though the 2020 Cup Series champion added that he thought it was a great show and that he had a blast driving the “GoNitro” ZipRecruiter Subaru.
Elliott Appeared on the Broadcast To Provide Further Comments
Elliott addressed the collision during his post-race interview, but he also provided more thoughts at a later point. He appeared on the Nitro Rallycross broadcast and watched the replay for the first time.
Elliott answered questions about his battle bracket and the collision from the duo in the booth — Jarod DeAnda and Andrew Coley. He responded by explaining that he was still gaining experience on the unique track and that he didn’t have the intention of hitting Foust’s race car so hard.
“I didn’t really know what to do, to be real honest with you,” Elliott said as he watched the replay of his race on the NRX broadcast. “I was kind of learning as I went, and Tanner and I were talking for like 10 minutes before the race. And I kind of… I mean, I hit him pretty hard.
“I wasn’t trying to hit him so straight. I wanted to… in my head, I pictured me driving in there and pulling a little handbrake and hitting him more door-to-door. But nonetheless, the only way to learn is to send it, I guess, and try to figure it out. I thought it was fun to watch and everybody enjoyed it.”
Elliott Will Continue to Compete on December 5
While he didn’t win his battle bracket, Elliott’s weekend is not over. He will have another opportunity to test his skills against the best drivers in Nitro Rallycross and potentially make it to the final event.
The Sunday schedule at NRX events features more practice for the drivers, as well as a semifinal race to help fill out the finale’s roster. Additionally, there is a Last Chance Qualifier that provides two drivers with another opportunity to reach the finale.
Elliott’s fellow NASCAR Cup Series champion in Kyle Busch faced a similar dilemma at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. He lost his battle bracket on Saturday, November 13 to Scott Speed and lined up for the semifinal race on Sunday, November 14.
Busch finished third in his semifinal behind Robin Larsson and Steve Arpin, setting him up to compete in the Last Chance Qualifier. However, the stewards issued a penalty to Larsson after a collision with Arpin, dropping the driver to fourth and elevating Busch into second place. He automatically moved on to the final race of the weekend.
The two-time Cup Series champion took part in the finale and battled with Travis Pastrana, Speed, Foust, Cabot Bigham, Arpin, Timmy Hansen, and Kevin Hansen. The series creator in Pastrana won while Timmy Hansen finished second and Speed took third. Busch finished fourth after some late moves to pass Bigham and Foust. Arpin and Kevin Hansen both posted DNFs.