When Denny Hamlin intentionally wrecked Chase Elliott two races ago at Martinsville, it cost Elliott a shot at his first career NASCAR Cup Series win as well as an automatic berth in next weekend’s championship race at Homestead.
Many pundits called the move dirty, and Hamlin was booed by fans after it happened.
But on Sunday, Elliott got his payback ... kind of.
With a little more than 40 laps left in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Hamlin was leading Elliott with both fighting for the fourth and final spot at Homestead. Elliott bumped Hamlin twice on his bumper, as a warning of sorts, before ultimately making contact when he passed them.
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And that contact ultimately proved too much for Hamlin, whose tires started smoking. Several laps later, Hamlin went smashing into the wall, ending his afternoon and any hopes he had of making it to Homestead. Elliott went on to finish second, meaning neither of them will race for a championship.
After the race, both drivers were asked about the incident. Hamlin, naturally, felt that Elliott had taken a shot at him.
“It just proves to the people who thought I was a bad guy,” Hamlin said after, “that he would do the exact same thing under the same circumstances.”
Elliott though took a somewhat different perspective.
“I’m going to race guys how they race me and keep a smile on my face regardless,” Elliott said. “I’m happy to race guys how they choose to race me and that’s the way I see it.”