NASCAR officials have weighed in about the incidents at World Wide Technology Raceway that started with Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin before including Chase Elliott. The SVP of Competition says the sanctioning body will let the drivers “handle it” while continuing to monitor the situation.
Scott Miller made the comments during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He explained that there were some moments on the track that “annoyed” the officials in the tower. Though Miller noted that neither Hamlin nor Elliott blatantly tried to take out Chastain after two previous incidents. Miller also clarified that he and the officials have not yet spoken to Hamlin, Elliott, or Chastain.
“I mean, certainly we don’t like to see things like that, but there’s a certain amount of… we kind of have to let them handle it on their own somewhat,” Miller told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “And what we saw — while we were annoyed by it — there was no real contact. Neither one.
“I mean, they tried to make life miserable for Ross, we all witnessed that. But at least we didn’t see a blatant take-out or anything like that. And it was obvious from Ross’ post-race comments that he’s made some mistakes out there and wants to make it right, but it’s kind of up to those guys to sort it out and how it moves forward from there.”
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A Meeting Remains a Possibility for NASCAR Officials
While Miller and the officials are currently letting the situation play out, there is a scenario where the drivers get called to the hauler. If it happens, it will most likely be after the situation calms down. Though Miller said that NASCAR will call Hamlin or any other driver to the hauler earlier if necessary.
“We’ll obviously keep a close eye on them as we do in all these situations. Probably will, may have them in the trailer face to face to talk about it as we’ve done before. We have our debrief, actually just after this call of the race weekends. We do that on Tuesday mornings, and we’ll discuss that situation further and decide how we’re going to move forward with it.”
Will there be a meeting? There is no clear answer, but the three drivers will be the center of attention in the coming weeks. The upcoming race at Sonoma will be the first, but the playoff races will also draw attention considering that Hamlin said that “you only want to pay it back when it counts.”
The Previous Season Featured a High-Profile Rivalry
NASCAR officials dealt with a similar situation late in the 2021 season, which required meetings in the hauler. There was an on-track rivalry between Elliott and Kevin Harvick that started at Bristol Motor Speedway and led to arguments on pit road and a heated discussion in Elliott’s hauler.
There was a discussion featuring NASCAR officials and both drivers, but the feud did not end. It just simmered until resurfacing at the Charlotte Roval. Harvick hit Elliott from behind and sent him into the wall. The driver of the No. 9 then set out to retaliate in the closing laps, but Harvick made a major mistake entering a turn. He locked up the tires and slammed nose-first into the wall, knocking himself out of the race.
Miller also addressed this situation after the playoff race at the Charlotte Roval. He appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and said that the officials would sit down the drivers for a second discussion if necessary. He also acknowledged that parking one or both of them remained a possibility. Though Miller clarified that this would not be a preferred option.