Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott’s pursuit of the NASCAR Cup Series championship ended in unexpected fashion Sunday.

Elliott found himself in great shape for a restart on Lap 200 of the 312-lap event. He restarted fifth, the highest position of any of the four championship contenders. But on the restart, Elliott dove low on the track and made contact with fellow championship contender Ross Chastain. The bump sent Elliott spinning into the inside wall at Phoenix Raceway.

Although Elliott avoided major damage, the brush with the wall damaged his car’s toe link. The Hendrick Motorsports driver returned to the track three laps later after repairs, but he had fallen a lap down. He was not a factor the rest of the race. The race, and the championship, was won by Joey Logano.

It’s certainly not the way Elliott expected his championship run to end. Fans of the four-time Most Popular Driver were not pleased with the turn of events. Others, however, believed Elliott deserved blame for the incident.

“Hard to blame Ross Chastain for that incident,” tweeted The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi. Looking at the replay it appears Chastain was already to Chase Elliott’s inside when Elliott turned down.”

“He could have actually been a decent person and breathed the throttle just a hair, but then that wouldn’t have been very Ross like,” Chuck Ellis tweeted, blaming Chastain.

“All on Chase. You can’t expect someone in the championship 4 to lift for you,” tweeted one user.

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.