Chase Elliott interviewed about NASCAR suspension
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Chase Elliott Opens Up About "Unfortunate Circumstance" That Led to His NASCAR Suspension

Chase Elliott is set to make his NASCAR Cup Series return at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

Chase Elliott will be back behind the wheel of his NAPA Auto Parts No. 9 Chevrolet this Sunday at Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Before doing so, Elliott took some time to address and reflect on his crash with Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which saw him suspended for the Gateway race this past weekend in Madison, Illinois.

Elliott shared his thoughts with Zach Sturniolo from about how he is moving on from the whole situation.

Elliott was clear that the Charlotte incident wasn't a good situation for anyone. He also spoke about how he put not only his team and sponsors into a rough spot but also his fans.

"Certainly it was an unfortunate circumstance on many accounts," Elliott said. "I hate that we're in the position that we're in. Obviously, it's been a pretty wild year — even prior to last week or two weeks ago. But, yeah — look, I hate that I put our team and our partners and our fans and all the folks that make us go in a tough spot. Certainly glad Denny's OK, and I understand NASCAR's call and what they felt like they need to do."

NASCAR suspended Elliott for what was viewed as a deliberate act when he crashed Hamlin on lap 186 of the Coca-Cola 600. That was illustrated by SMT data, which is what ultimately got Elliott in trouble.

Now, he will need to get his focus back on trying to secure some wins with just 11 races left until the playoffs. Elliott finds himself in 28th in the standings, and he was looking as if he could point his way in with how consistent he was running since he returned from his broken leg at Martinsville.

Having now missed a total of seven races, Elliott will most surely need to win a race if he hopes to be in the 2023 playoffs. He has a chance this weekend — Sonoma is a road course, and he has been the most successful driver on road courses in the last five years.

Sonoma is tricky, as Elliott has come so close to a win at the California racecourse. The Hendrick Motorsports driver hopes he can finally get into the groove that he believes he has yet to find this season.

"For me personally, just kind of looking forward to getting back to work and just trying to get in a groove, because I don't really feel like I've been in one throughout the year," Elliott said. "It's been kind of stop and go all season, unfortunately. But the way I see it is there's 11 races left, and we pretty much need to go win one of those to get in the playoffs. So that's where my head's at right now."

It's good to hear that Elliott has put what happened with Hamlin behind him. Maybe now he can find some luck on the racetrack, as he did in 2022 when he won five races. He's got some favorable races coming in June and July, including the Ally 400 at Nashville, the Quaker State 400 at Atlanta, and the Pocono 400 at Pocono — all of which he won last year.  Welcome back to the track, Chase.

MORE: Kenny Wallace Explains the "One Thing" That Got Chase Elliott in Trouble With NASCAR