Denny Hamlin was ahead of Chase Elliott when Kyle Busch came from behind to send Elliott’s No. 9 HMS Chevrolet towards the inner wall.
If not for the incident, Elliott even had a good chance to win the race ahead of Hamlin. However, with Elliott out of the race, Hamiln went on to win the Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Busch has already stated on a number of occasions that the clash with Elliott was unintentional and has apologized for it.
Speaking to reporters on a Zoom call, Hamlin believes that if Elliott retaliates in the upcoming races, it would be intentional and while the score between them “might be equal”, but then it would be a wrong message to retaliate for a mistake.
Well, you can look at it a couple different ways.
I would say if Chase were to retaliate, you know that’s intentional, right? We all know it’s intentional. What Kyle did was unintentional. Now, is the score really even if one’s intentional and one is not? Probably not. The result might be equal, but it’s not equal as far as intention. So I don’t know. I have a different philosophy as you well know.
Hamlin stressed the fact that every driver thinks that Kyle made a mistake and there is no need for retaliation.
If Chase doesn’t retaliate, no driver thinks any less of him. Every driver out there saw that Kyle just made a small mistake. He misjudged. We don’t go out there and expect Chase to do anything to him. If he does … that raises your eyebrow more than what Kyle did, in my opinion. I don’t think that Chase needs to fight for relevance. We all know that he’s good, he’s talented and he’s going to win a ton of races.
With three more races coming in quick succession in May, only time will tell how Elliott will react to the incident.