You would think that the Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr incident late in last Sunday’s Southern 500 would still punch some weight a week later. Two big named drivers going for a win and neither collecting a trophy in the end.
Elliott, made a mistake by changing his line with 14 laps remaining. Truex, made a mistake by catching Elliott after his mistake and trying to slide up in front of him as a result. The two ended up in the wall.
Instead of finishing 1-2, they allowed Kevin Harvick to win resulting for them coming home 20-22.
Elliott could still be fuming mad, but he’s not. He’s over it. In fact, he respects Truex still and as far as he’s concerned it was a racing deal.
“I think we were both battling really hard for a win,” Elliott said Thursday. “I think any other time in the race I probably give him the position. In that situation, you got to know, nobody is going to let anybody in for a race win with 15 laps left. I hate that it happened. It hurt both of us.
“I don’t think it was something he did on purpose. I think we were both being aggressive. When you’re coming to a race end like that, a potential win of the Southern 500, I think I would be foolish not to push for every last inch I had the opportunity to get. It was an unfortunate end to a solid comeback for us.”
“It was just kind of one of those racing deals where it was obviously really close,” Truex said. “It was pretty much going to be the pass for the win in my eyes. I feel like in that moment, we both made a split-second decision and tried to anticipate or think about what the other one would do, and I think we both guessed wrong, to be honest with you.
“Just really close, obviously, nobody’s fault. I don’t think you can really put blame on one guy. Just kind of a racing deal that was unfortunate for both of our teams.”
Elliott said he has to learn from this so he doesn’t put himself in a situation for there to be a next time. He should have won that race.
“The way I look at those situations is this, I think the people who win in this series and win a lot don’t find themselves in the tough positions that we were in on Sunday night because they don’t let the guy in second ever get to that point to have a chance.
“The way I view it is I can’t control what a guy does when he’s up next to me, and he can’t control what I’m going to do. But I can certainly control my decision prior to something like that happening to do a better job in extending the gap to that person behind you to where they don’t have that opportunity to be up there by you to make a mistake or to run you over, whatever the situation may be.
“I’m a believer in that, and I certainly think that I could do a better job in extending the lead in that situation to not allow an opportunity to present itself. That is the focus that I have moving forward is just trying to be better, be faster and get far enough away from the people behind you where they can’t get to you.”