Chase Elliott thought that he had finished 3rd in Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400. As usual, he hopped into a plane and flew back home with dad, Bill Elliott, after the race at the Pocono Raceway. A lot had changed between boarding the plane in Pennsylvania and exiting it in Georgia.
Elliott was declared the winner. That took him back. Not long after both winner (Denny Hamlin) and 2nd place (Kyle Busch) were disqualified, 3rd place Elliott was awarded with the race win. While he’d take it, it’s something that he’s not going to take much stock in.
A win is a win but this one is different he says.
“I was just surprised by that,” Elliott said via a zoom call on Monday morning. It’s something I don’t ever recall happening throughout the time that I’ve watched NASCAR and the Cup Series. Certainly, I’ve been part of some situations like this over my short track racing career. I know it happens.
“It’s not a complete shock in other types of racing. But on the Cup side, it’s not something we’re accustomed to seeing. I don’t think any driver wants to win that way. I certainly don’t. I was kind of more surprised by it than anything. I don’t really feel right celebrating someone else’s misfortune. That doesn’t seem right to me.”
As a result of this bizarre win, Elliott doesn’t necessarily care to get the trophy from Hamlin either.
“If he wants to keep it, he can keep it as far as I’m concerned,” Elliott said. “He crossed the finish line first. I haven’t really thought about that, but I didn’t feel like I earned it on track yesterday. So, if he wants to keep it, then I’m good with that. I’m not going to ask for it.”
While JGR elected to not appeal the penalties, Elliott doesn’t take solace in keeping the win either.
He doesn’t feel that he had a car capable of winning Sunday’s race anyhow. As he said, he doesn’t feel like he earned that victory. He basically said he crossed the finish line 3rd for a reason after not leading a single lap all day. The 2020 series champion said he felt like he was real fortunate to even finish in 3rd to begin with.
“We started off okay and struggled through the mid portion of the event, and I thought for us to get back into the top five was really a good day,” he said. “I thought we were lucky.
“In my personal opinion, we got beat on track and from a balance perspective with our car, it could have been better. That’s really where my head was at when we left and that’s really where my heads at today.
“I crossed the line third. That’s how I’m looking at it.”