The White Zone: Chase Elliott has an attitude problem

EDITOR’S NOTE: After press time, Chase Elliott told Dave Moody on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Tuesday, that the side-swipe was a heat of the moment incident and that he and Kyle Larson cleared the misunderstanding, during their post-race chat on pit road.

Original column

Chase Elliott stood on pit road and spoke to the media, Sunday, at Kansas Speedway. Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports asked him about side-swiping his teammate, Kyle Larson, coming off pit road.

There was no message? Does he seriously expect us to believe this?

Well according to the beat writers on site, he did.

Considering NASCAR parked him for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin back in May, he would act more level-headed.

Nope, Elliott acted like a jackass.

Why lie about it?

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – SEPTEMBER 10: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Yahoo! Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sept. 10, 2023, in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo: Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

Let’s dissect the incident in question.

As Elliott left pit road, he had Tyler Reddick to his right. Larson pulls out of his box with just enough room to spare. Then Brad Keselowski exits his box, Larson pulls right to avoid him and hits Elliott.

Just drivers going for the same real estate. Pretty innocuous.

Elliott probably didn’t realize Keselowski forced Larson up. So he side-swiped him on the apron.

OK, heat of the moment incident. It happens. If Elliott said his reason was just payback, I wouldn’t be writing this column.

Rather than say that, he lied about it.

For what gain? Who knows. Danielle Trotta and Larry McReynolds on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Monday, threw out that he’s jealous of Larson or that it stems from past run-ins. On the latter, the only ones that come to mind are Fontana and Watkins Glen in 2022. For the former, I don’t know if I can put stock in that, right now. I’m not a psychologist. I type words onto digital paper for a living.

With that said, it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to know Elliott lied. No driver side-swipes another driver, especially a teammate, unless there’s a reason.

So why lie about it?

If it was a heat of the moment response, then say it. If it’s more deep-seated, then say it.

Don’t piss on our legs, then say it’s raining! Any journalist worth their salt sniffs out a bullshit story.

If you don’t, then expect more scrutiny from us.

And if not to us, then have the decency to tell your damn teammate and bosses at Hendrick Motorsports why you did it and what your problem with Larson is.

If not, don’t act surprised if you have difficulty getting resigned, when your next contract talk occurs.

More importantly, tell your fans why. You know? The people who made you NASCAR’s most popular driver for seven consecutive seasons.

If you don’t, then that tells me you think your fans are brain-dead idiots who’ll slop up any lie you tell.

Regardless, if this is how Elliott carries himself now, then he didn’t learn a damn thing from his suspension. And if he thinks talent shields him from repercussions for being a cancer, then look up Antonio Brown’s tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers (particularly around 2018).

Talent only goes so far, when you’re toxic to everyone around you.

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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