By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
FORT WORTH, Texas – Chase Elliott admitted that he is still upset with Denny Hamlin following last week’s late race incident at Martinsville.
With two laps remaining in the First Data 500, Elliott was en route to his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory until Hamlin put an aggressive hit to his rear bumper and sending Elliott’s No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet into the wall and with a 27th-place finish.
The outcome led to a heated exchange on pit road.
During Friday media availability ahead of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Elliott’s feelings remain intact.
“You know, as far as last week goes, I don’t know that my thoughts today are a whole lot different than they were then,” said Elliott.
“I am still pretty frustrated about it and you know, as long as the week has gone along it has given me a lot of time to think about how close we were to going to Homestead. I think if anything else that will drive you up the wall more if you think about it.
“Definitely not happy about it and I don’t think a whole lot has changed. But no, I am not going to answer your questions about whether I am going to get him back or not. Don’t even ask because you are not going to hear it from me. Just don’t go there.
“I don’t think my mindset has changed from that standpoint. This is a point in this round where we are going to have to perform these next two weeks to have a chance at Homestead now.
We are going to have to do just that.”
Although a win in the next two races advances Elliott to one of the final four spots in a winner take all in the season finale at Homestead, he believes there’s a chance to advance without one despite Martinsville’s outcome.
“For us, we are in a position where we are not completely out from points,” said Elliott. “You could have some really solid weeks and get stage points and those guys don’t and potentially get yourself back in it without winning. It’s going to be really hard to do and I think you are going to have to be in contention to winning these next two weeks, if not, winning an event.
“You have to see how this weekend goes to know how next weekend has to be. I am not overwhelming myself with him or any other driver in particular as the weekend goes along. I don’t think you can do that and look yourself in the eye and think you have a fair shot if you have that mindset coming into the weekend.
So, we are going to go about our business like we always do and hope that we make the right guesses, that I make the right judgement calls, and that Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and the team makes the right calls throughout the weekend to have a chance to win.”