For weeks, Denny Hamlin had been saying that Chase Elliott was going to reach the playoffs on points. He even took time on his podcast "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin" to preach his confidence in the driver of the No. 9 Chevy.
But after this past weekend's race at Michigan, Hamlin has changed his tune, as Elliott got wrecked and left the race early. His chances of making the playoffs on points are gone with three races remaining until the playoffs begin.
In an emergency episode of his podcast, Hamlin addressed what Elliott will have to do in the final three weeks. Hamlin now says Elliott must win in order to get into the playoffs.
"It's time, I might have to jump off the wagon," Hamlin said. "He just couldn't afford a wreck, and he had a wreck. Obviously, not his doing. He blew a right rear there. He's gonna have to win a race. I've really thought he could gain, 6 to 12 playoff points on [Michael] McDowell, and the next thing you know he's down with a -28 finish. It's not like McDowell's been very good."
Hamlin talked about how Elliott had a great chance at Michigan given his history there but that things just didn't work out.
"Chase had an opportunity — but, again, it's not on him. But it's super unfortunate he blew a tire there," Hamlin said.
As Hamlin said on a previous episode of his podcast, you can't count out Elliott on the road courses. However, the Indianapolis Road Course will be a challenge for all drivers.
It's clear that Hamlin no longer has the confidence in Elliott making the playoffs that he had only a week ago.
Elliott has had a strong qualifying effort. But it just seems as if everything that can go wrong for the Hendrick Motorsports driver is going wrong.
It is a bit interesting that Hamlin has such an interest in how things have been going for Elliott since the two had their entanglement in the Coca-Cola 600 and Elliott was suspended for a race. One thing is for sure: Hamlin and many others in NASCAR have all but given up on Elliott's chances of making the 2023 playoffs.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.