Chase Elliott given one-race suspension for Coca-Cola 600 infraction

Chase Elliott at a previous Charlotte race.
credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs 

Since rain delayed the Coca-Cola 600 from Sunday to Monday, it gave NASCAR fans much less time to debate whether or not Chase Elliott would face a penalty for his run-in with Denny Hamlin on Lap 185 that ended both of their days. 

Spoiler alert: he will. 

The Tuesday Penalty Report came out less than 24 hours after the incident in which Elliott, who’d been shoved into the wall at speed more than once, apparently turned his steering wheel hard left and ran into the right rear of Hamlin’s No. 11, which caused the FedEx-sponsored vehicle to veer head-on into the wall, taking Elliott out, too. 

Neither driver was injured; both were seen and released at the infield care center. 

According to NASCAR officials, Elliott’s actions garnered him a one-race suspension, citing Sections 4.3.A and 4.4.C & D of the NASCAR Member Code of Conduct, laid out in the NASCAR Rule Book. 

Section 4.3.A cites NASCAR member conduct and states “correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track, is part of a member’s responsibilities.” Section 4.4.C states “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” an example of which is described as “clearly forcing another competitor into the wall in an abrupt and unambiguous manner.” 

And of course, Section 4.4.D specifies that “actions by a NASCAR member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR” could result in a fine or suspension. 

Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer visited SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and said, “Drivers need to understand they have to handle that a completely different way.” On Fox's NASCAR Race Hub, he explained that they examined the data and in-car camera footage, and determined that Elliott's action was intentional, and thus warranted the penalty. 

Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement saying, “We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating. 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.”

The “maintaining consistency in officiating” is a reference to last year’s suspension of Bubba Wallace for a similar situation involving Hendrick driver Kyle Larson in October. 

According to, full-time Craftsman Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar will fill in for LaJoie in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet at Gateway next weekend. 

Elliott's absence will be his seventh of 2023; earlier this year he missed six weeks from a leg fracture sustained while snowboarding. 

After Monday’s incident, which Elliott described as “unfortunate circumstances,” Hamlin said Elliott should be parked, then tweeted an image of telemetry from the No. 9 showing an obvious spike right before Elliott’s impact with Hamlin. 

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney won the Coca-Cola 600, leading 163 of the 400 laps, while handing Roger Penske his second major victory of the weekend; it was the Captain’s first time to have winners in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same weekend. 

Chase Elliott given one-race suspension for Coca-Cola 600 infraction Chase Elliott given one-race suspension for Coca-Cola 600 infraction Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 Rating: 5