Chase Elliott says Kyle Busch ‘isn’t a guy that makes many mistakes’
On Wednesday night, the NASCAR Cup Series rolled into Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. It was the first Wednesday night appearance by the premier stock car division in over 30 years.
Denny Hamlin was leading in the closing laps of the event. But, Chase Elliott had slightly newer tires and was coming to the front in a hurry.
Just as Elliott took over 2nd, Kyle Busch attempting to cut in behind Elliott. Instead, Busch misjudged and clipped the left rear of Elliott, sending him toward the infield wall.
Chase Elliott climbed from his manged machine on his own power and in a hurry. He then waited for Kyle Busch to circle by under yellow. Elliott threw out his middle finger, which was seen by the national television audience.
After the race, Elliott’s crew chief waited by the #18 car to have a word with him. They spoke on site but Chase Elliott did not talk to Busch at the track, nor did he give any interviews on the incident.
Chase Elliott on the incident with Kyle Busch
“I think that he was trying to make a spot that wasn’t there,” Elliott said in a Zoom call with media Friday.
“Much like I told him, I get that mistakes happen and that’s part of life. I get it, but he’s just not a guy that makes many mistakes. For me to be on the poor end of a rare mistake on his end, at the end of the day, is unfortunate for me and my team.”
After the incident, Elliott made a slight detour from the ambulance to throw the middle finger to Kyle Busch as he went by under caution.
Elliott said of the finger, “I thought it was warranted, and he was deserving.”
“I don’t think (Busch) did it on purpose. I hate that I was on the rare end of a rare mistake on his end. For a guy who doesn’t make many, hated that it was me that took the blow.”
Chase Elliott has been on the wrong end of these deals in the past. Most notably, when Denny Hamlin turned him at Martinsville Speedway.
In the weeks to follow, Elliott put Hamlin in the wall at Phoenix Raceway. This is a slightly different situation though…
“Who knows the situations or the circumstances you will be presented down the road,” Elliott noted about possible retaliation.
“At the end of the day, the whole reason Wednesday was as unfortunate as it was is because we were battling for a win. So I guess the bottom line is to try to put ourselves in position to win more and that’s a good problem to have. That’s my goal.”
“Nobody is perfect. I get that. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes as time goes on. I get it. I just hate that I was on the wrong end of a rare one on his end.”
Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch stated that he had spoken with Elliott over the phone since the incident and that the call went well. Busch stated multiple times that he’s never had any issues with Elliott.
“Kyle and I have gotten along for many years,” Elliott said.
“I feel like I’ve raced him with a lot of respect because I respect him. I think he’s really good and he is. A two-time champion should be respected in my opinion. I think he’s earned that right.”
“The respect from my end was there prior to the event. To hear that from a champion and a guy who we have raced really hard and clean together over the years, I think, goes further than someone who I don’t care for as much or somebody who I don’t get along with as well, or someone who doesn’t race with that kind of respect or that kind of integrity on track.”
“What did it tell me about him? I learned he made a mistake and I was on the wrong end of it. He apologized to me. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the result.”
“At the end of the day, it still costs us a shot at a win. At the end of the day that’s really the bulk of what matters to me and my team because we’re in the business to perform more than anything,” Elliott concluded.