Chase Elliott on Pocono: 'I don’t think any driver wants to win that way'
By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer
Chase Elliott won’t celebrate his victory from Sunday. Not today. And not in the future.
Hours later, upon landing from his flight home, Elliott learned Hamlin and Busch had been disqualified for impermissible material in the nose of the car.
"I don't know that it's really a win that I'm going to celebrate anyway," Elliott said Monday morning. "For me, I don't really feel right celebrating someone else's misfortune. ... It's not necessarily something I'm proud of or something I'm going to boast about throughout the course of this situation.
"I thought we were very fortunate to run third, to be real honest."
Sunday marked the first time since 1960 that NASCAR disqualified a winner in a Cup race. For decades, NASCAR wouldn't disqualify a winning car but would dock points and issue fines. In 2019, NASCAR announced it would disqualify drivers, and it has disqualified non-winning Cup drivers and race winners in other series.
But not until Sunday had NASCAR disqualified a Cup Series winner.
"When we landed, I had a couple messages that kind of filled me out what was going on," Elliott said.
"I was just surprised by that. ... I don’t think any driver wants to win that way. I certainly don’t."
Late Monday afternoon, Joe Gibbs Racing released a statement from competition director Wally Brown on what caused the disqualification:
"A single piece of clear tape was positioned over each of the lower corners of the front fascia ahead of the left-front and right-front wheel openings on both those cars," he said. "The added pieces were 2 inches wide and 5½ inches long with a thickness of 0.012 inches and installed under the wrap.
"This change in our build process was not properly vetted within our organization, and we recognize it is against NASCAR’s rules."
Even so, Elliott said he will look at the race as a third-place finish because he didn’t think his team ran with race-winning speed.
"I feel like we got beat, and I feel like we could be better," Elliott said. "I felt like we were solid, but our cars could drive better. I could probably execute some things better, too. ... We need to improve from where we sat."
Still, there’s one thing his team might need to try to do now that it has won the race. How does it get the trophy? Does Elliott ask NASCAR to get it from Hamlin? Elliott and Hamlin share the same agent, so maybe the agent can be the intermediary?
Elliott didn’t seem all that concerned about it.
"I haven't even really thought about it," he said. "And honestly, if he wants to keep it, he can keep it as far as I'm concerned. He crossed the finish line first. ... I didn't really 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."
Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!