Video: Hamlin and Elliott tangle at Charlotte; Hamlin calls for Elliott suspension

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 29: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota, spins after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29, 2023 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images)

Whether it was retaliation or not will depend on your point of view.

On lap 187 of the rescheduled Coca-Cola 600 Monday while racing for position inside the top 10, Denny Hamlin’s Toyota was sent nose first into the outside wall along the front stretch after contact from Chase Elliott.

Elliott was on the outside as the two raced side by side coming out of Turn 4 when Hamlin appeared to get loose and slid up into Elliott sending Elliott into the outside wall. Elliott seemed to turn right, hooking Hamlin’s car and sending it crashing.

The two had made contact just a few laps earlier on a restart and that contact may have carried over; or may not.

“Ran over us twice in the last 4 laps. Did I miss something there?” Elliott could be heard saying on the team radio.

The move, if retaliatory, harkens back to a move made by Bubba Wallace on Kyle Larson during the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year.

Hamlin’s crew thought so.

“That’s the same exact thing the 23 did to the 5,” Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart said on their team radio. “That’s as intentional as it gets” Hamlin’s spotter Chris Lambert added.

Both Hamlin and Elliott were done for the day. Hamlin later said there was little doubt about what he felt had happened.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightaway,” he said.

“It’s a tantrum and he shouldn’t be racing next week. Right rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. I don’t care. It is the same thing that Bubba Wallace did with Kyle Larson. Exact same. He shouldn’t be racing. It’s a tantrum.”

After last year’s Vegas incident NASCAR suspended Wallace for one race. Hamlin said that’s that he wants for Elliott.

“He shouldn’t be racing,” Hamlin said. “He shouldn’t be racing.”

For his part, Elliott seemed to deflect blame.

“The No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) ran us up into the fence there,” Elliott said. “Once you tear the right-side off these things, it’s kind of over. I hate it – I thought our No. 9 NAPA Chevy was getting better. It was nice to be making some gains there throughout the race. Our pit stops were really good. We had some pretty good fortune to get up towards the front there. It was just trying to get to mile 600 and have a shot, so unfortunately failed to do that again.”

Elliott also denied any retaliation on his part.

“No, like I said, once you hit the wall in these things, you can’t drive them anymore. So no, just unfortunate circumstances.”

NASCAR said they would review the incident within 24 hours and make any decisions about penalties next week.


Greg Engle