Late wreck ruins Chase Elliott’s winning chances

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 15: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Chevrolet, lead the field at the star of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 15, 2017 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

For 182 laps Sunday, Chase Elliott avoided the wrecks that wiped out eight of the 12 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contenders, but after a restart on the next-to-last restart of a rough-and-tumble race, his luck ran out.

Elliott was dicing for position on Lap 183 as the field—by then reduced to 19 cars—approached Turn 3. He tried to split the cars of Kyle Larson to the inside and Daniel Suarez to the outside, but Suarez edged down the track, and contact between Suarez’s Toyota and Elliott’s Chevrolet started a six-car wreck that left Elliott’s No. 24 damaged beyond repair.

“I had a really big run, Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) was giving me a great shove, and Daniel had left enough room in the middle,” said Elliott, who finished 16th in a race of heavy attrition and enters next Sunday’s elimination event at Kansas Speedway sixth in the standings.

“Larson left me enough room from the bottom. There was a hole and I filled it. I don’t guess Daniel either saw me in time, or that it was I just had a high rate of speed coming, and he didn’t know or tried to block it. I’m not sure. We will move on.”