The radio comments have caused fans to speculate on cheating and other theories
Over the weekend, NASCAR visited Richmond Raceway. It was the first short track race of the NASCAR Cup Series season.
Chase Elliott drove to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship. However, in the first 6 races of 2022, Elliott has claimed just one top-5.
Fans were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at Richmond Raceway. Until a metaphorical rock fell from the sky and blocked said tunnel completely.
What was that rock? We don’t know at all but fans are certainly speculating.
On lap 253, Chase Elliott restarted in 7th. The was directly following a four tire pit stop. However, just 3 laps into the run, Elliott dropped to 18th.
Chase Elliott: Radio chatter
Chase Elliott: “I don’t know what’s happened to this thing dude!”
Alan Gustafson (Crew chief): “I do. I do. Just be nice and smooth with it. Take care of it. We’ll get you fixed. Do the best you can.”
Elliott: “Did that little bit of air really kill us that bad?”
Gustafson: “No. No. Nope. I know the problem. I’ll tell you later.”
After the race, the crew chief jumped on the radio.
Gustafson: “Sorry about that. We deserved a much better finish than that, had a better car.”
Fans react to conversation above
What couldn’t the crew chief tell his driver over the radio?
Fans on social media have thrown out several theories. Some of those includes pit crew mistakes while others suggest cheating.
The most common theory between fans appears to be a tire mistake. They think the left and right side tires were accidentally installed on the wrong side of the car. That would make the car basically undrivable as the right side tires are a different compound than the left.
Other theories suggest cheating of some kind. Which, if that was the case, the team wouldn’t want to talk about it over the radio as NASCAR has access to all radio communication.
It’s worth noting that Chase Elliott had an issue with a mistake from his crew the previous week. He reacted by screaming at them. It’s possible the crew chief withheld information of another mistake, to keep his driver calm.
NASCAR has already released their weekly penalty report. No NASCAR Cup Series team was handed a penalty after Richmond.