NASCAR has given Cup Series driver Chase Elliott a one-race suspension for purposely crashing into Denny Hamlin during Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The collision occurred on the fourth turn of the 185th lap as Hamlin forced Elliott near the wall, and Elliott contacted the right side of Hamlin’s car — sending him head-first into the wall and taking both drivers out of the race.
“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin told NBC Sports after the race. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”
NASCAR ruled that Elliott had violated sections 4.3A, 4.4C, and 4.4D of its Member Code of Conduct, dealing with “correct and proper conduct on and off the track” and “removing another competitor from championship contention in a dangerous manner when not racing for position based on the available evidence and specific circumstances of the incident.”
The sections further explain that any driver found violating the policy is subject to an indefinite suspension.
“As we continued last night, early this morning, and throughout the day to gather data, we’ve arrived at a one-race suspension for Chase,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer explained in an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. “We take this very seriously in the fact that the incident that happened…was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion and in our view after reviewing all the available resources.”
“Watching the optics of it, immediately from the tower, it looked like a hard left turn into the right corner of the 11 [Hamlin’s car]…”
Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney went on to win the race.
Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal the suspension. Elliott will miss this weekend’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, and will be replaced by Corey LaJoie.
“We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating,” the organization said in an official statement. “The penalty will not be appealed, and we will submit a formal request for a playoff waiver. Corey LaJoie, 31, will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. We are grateful to Corey for stepping in and to the team at Spire Motorsports for making him available.”
“It’s funny how fast it all happened,” LaJoie added on the Stacking Pennies Podcast he hosts.. “…Once NASCAR told Hendrick they had to sit him out, it was like, ‘Hey, it’s happening; you’re in it.’…I’m excited about it, and it’s a far cry difference from when I started my career six years ago.”
The NASCAR Cup Series season continues in Madison, Illinois, on Sunday, and the series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 as part of its playoffs on September 23 and 24.