Chase Elliott feels middle-finger salute was right in light of Kyle Busch wrong

Chase Elliott still feels wronged by Kyle Busch and still feels he did the right thing with his middle-finger salute, but maybe isn’t totally sure what to feel on how he will race Busch following their accident Wednesday night.

The accident occurred when Busch, in third and in the middle groove, tried to squeeze between Elliott in second and Kevin Harvick in fourth at Darlington Raceway. Even though he had enough room, Busch clipped Elliott in the left rear, sending Elliott crashing into the wall.

The Toyota 500 ended minutes later because of rain, leaving Elliott angry that a chance to win – he had fresher tires than Hamlin – slipped through his fingers through no fault of his own. Elliott got out of his car and raised his middle finger at Busch as Busch drove by under caution.

Busch has profusely apologized and talked to Elliott on Thursday.

“We talked about it and like I told him, I don’t think he wrecked me on purpose,” Elliott said Friday. “He was trying to make a spot that wasn’t there and much like I told him, I get that mistakes happen and that’s part of life and I get it.

“He’s just not a guy that makes many mistakes. For me to be on the poor end of a rare mistake on his end is at the end of the day unfortunate for me and my team.”

The call “went well,” according to Busch.

“He’s a class act, we’ve all seen that,” Busch said. “[The] conversation overall was good.”

Now the question is how well. Busch admitted Wednesday night he might suffer repercussions from Elliott, who didn’t tip his hand on whether he will retaliate.

“I just want to go win,” Elliott said. “We had a really nice opportunity to try and grab a win on Wednesday. That’s my goal.

“I want nothing more than just to go and run well and try to put ourselves in position to win a lot of races.”

Elliott certainly could make Busch’s life harder in certain situations.

“Who knows the situations or the circumstances you’ll be presented with down the road,” Elliott said.

Elliott doesn’t need to wreck Busch to prove anything except to remind Busch about the enormity of the mistake. Hamlin said Elliott is in a little bit of a tough spot when considering retaliation.

“If Chase were to retaliate, you know that’s intentional, right?” Hamlin said. “We all know it’s intentional. What Kyle did was unintentional.

“Now, is the score really even if one is intentional and one is not? Probably not. The result might be equal, but it’s not equal as far as intention.”

While the wreck was a blow to Elliott’s winning hopes, it certainly didn’t hurt his popularity. His lengthy middle-finger salute will be remembered for a long time. It had to be a little weird without fans in the stands, but Elliott said he wasn’t thinking of fans when he did it and didn’t have the sounds of a virtual crowd roar in his head.

“It was more just how I was feeling at the time,” he said. “It really didn’t involve anybody else but he and I.”

And any regrets?

“No regrets,” he said. “I thought it was warranted, and I thought he was deserving.”