Martin Truex Jr.’s attempted pass of Chase Elliott gave Kevin Harvick a Darlington win which obviously got Elliott frustrated after finishing 20th.
Truex had the fastest ride throughout the entire race. He was victorious in the first two stages and was on a third-stage pit strategy that seemed destined to succeed.
With 13 laps remaining on Sunday‘s NASCAR Playoffs launch at the Darlington Raceway, Chase Elliott N0.9 was leading the pack with Martin Truex Jr. No.19 hot on his trail. Truex did manage to catch up Elliott, however when he did, Truex Jr went low to make his pass for the lead. He was close to pulling it off, but close proximity is the exact reason he failed to do so.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver Toyota clipped the nose of Chase’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet ride. Forcing both cars hit the wall.
"I hate it."
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“(Truex) had a run on me there off of (Turn) 4 and he just kind of cleared himself into 1,” Elliott said. “He was close, but he wasn‘t all the way clear, obviously. I hate it, obviously we had a fast NAPA Camaro — fast enough to contend. We needed a little pace there to extend our lead instead of playing defense, but regardless I thought we were in a good spot. I ran the bottom in three and four to see if there was anything left down there, that‘s what kind of gave him the run and then he just slid up in to my left front, I felt like and on we went.”
“It‘s Darlington and typically you don‘t want to go in side-by-side,” Truex said. “I felt like I had enough of a run and enough space there that the last foot or so he was going to understand that if I was committed, we both weren‘t going to make it. Typically, here that‘s kind of how you race. If a guy gets a run on you and he‘s just about got you cleared, you have to give that last little bit. … Basically, when I made up my mind and I was driving it in there and then he drove in on my right-rear quarter, there was no possible way that we both weren‘t crashing.”
When it comes to the postseason, Truex and Elliott remain safe. Truex is sixth and 16 points above the cutline. Elliott is seventh and 12 points to the good.