- Time for a little next level here and you guys are at the touch screen. So I want you to take us through exactly what happened less than five laps to go and all the money on the line at Martinsville, Chase Elliott out front.
- Well, we had just completed two to go. This is going down the back stretch right here. I mean, you look at the 24 car-- his rear wheels were almost picked up off the ground. I think it's pretty obvious what happened right there.
- Yeah and that's the thing. And as you said, coming for the white, trying to make it to homestead, lock yourself in-- Denny Hamlin lines the 24 up. Chase Elliott gets in the corner. Chase had zero chance. You can see the wheels-- the rear tires-- they're wheel hopping. The back of the car is picked up off the ground. Denny Hamlin lined them up perfectly to move him. Now he said he didn't try to wreck him. He was trying to move him out of the way. But he made sure he wasn't going to make the corner.
- Now what I like about this aerial view right here-- this kind of contradicts something that Denny Hamlin said and post-race. He said he was getting pushed from behind. There's basically two car lengths between him and his teammate back there, Kyle Busch. So obviously, nobody was pushing the 11 car, Denny Hamlin.
- Listen, it's all about victories at this point, right? So how does Denny Hamlin make that move work when it's not egregious or unfair?
- Well, as we come off the corner there, Chase Elliott was on the outside. He got a good drive off the corner. So it might have been a little different if Denny was already this close to Chase coming off of turn two. But the fact was Chase got a good run off the corner. There was at least a car length and a half gap to get to him. So as we get in the corner, Denny has to carry so much speed in the corner just to get to his bumper to move him out of the way.
The fact is, he was never going to make the corner unless the 24 was there. And by this point, there's no chance that Chase Elliott has to make the corner without spinning out. And that's what happened.
- As you saw them go on to the concrete entering turn three, I bet you if we had the throttle traces right there, I bet you'd see that Chase Elliott had already rolled out the throttle and Denny Hamlin was still in the throttle by quite a bit.
- How do you analyze the emotion that followed, AJ? You know Chase is going to be upset because he's a lap and a half away from punching his ticket to Miami. How do you characterize what he did post-race and how he handled Denny?
- Now, I know crew chiefs always talk about, we don't like the drivers using the race car. You know what-- the way he handled himself after that race, I'm perfectly fine with. He's trying to make it to homestead to try to win a championship. Oh, by the way, he's never won a race as well. And he's about dominated this whole race.
So what he did after the race-- that's emotion. That's what, as drivers, happens inside the race car. As fans, we love to see. And more importantly, he got out of the race car, he didn't start cussing, he didn't start yelling. He got on TV and gave a great interview of how he actually felt. So everything that happened there-- I think Chase Elliott deserves an A plus for how he handled himself.