Chase Elliott (L) with crew chief Alan Gustafson. Jul 23, 2022; Long Pond, Pennsylvania, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (left) talks with his crew chief Alan Gustafson (right) during practice and qualifying for the M&Ms Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway had a controversial ending. Both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who finished in first and second place respectively, were disqualified for failing post-race inspections.

That resulted in ultimate third-place finisher Chase Elliott (seen at left above with crew chief Alan Gustafson) ultimately taking home the victory at the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400.

This type of finish is something that is a rarity in racing. The last instance of a first-place finisher failing their post-race inspection and being disqualified took place in 2017 with Joey Logano.

Winning by a technicality in any sport is always a weird situation, and it was stranger still for Elliott considering how he learned of his victory. On Monday, Elliott discussed the race with reporters via a virtual press conference, and revealed he only learned he won after his plane landed.

Fox Sports NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass posted videos of some clips from Elliott’s availability, including one with Elliott saying that as far as he is concerned, Hamlin can keep the trophy for finishing in first place before the disqualification.

“Honestly, if he wants to keep it, he can keep it as far as I’m concerned,” said Elliott. “He crossed the finish line first, so I haven’t really thought about that. I don’t really feel like I earned it on the track yesterday, so if he wants to keep it I’m good with that.”

While it is always nice to get a victory, it looks like Elliott isn’t exactly celebrating following the race. He added that he doesn’t feel like he earned the result he was given.

“I don’t know that this is exactly a win that I am going to celebrate. I don’t really feel right celebrating someone else’s misfortune. It’s not something that I’m proud of or going to boast about. I thought we were real fortunate to even run third, to be honest with you. No racer driver wants to win like that.”

It remains to be seen whether Joe Gibbs Racing will look to appeal this decision so that Hamlin will get his victory. But for the time being, Elliott is the winner of the race, whether he feels that he deserves it or not.

[Bob Pockrass on Twitter; photo from Matthew O’Haren/USA Today Sports]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.