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Chase Elliott's road-course winning streak ends at Daytona

Chase Elliott in action at NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona. Photo: Getty Images
Chase Elliott in action at NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona. Photo: Getty Images
Ankit Agarwalla

Chase Elliott, who started on pole at the Daytona Road Course race, didn't have everything go to plan as he finish 21st, ending a four-race winning streak at road courses going back to Watkins Glen in 2019.

Elliot went into the second race of the 2021 NASCAR season as an overwhelming favorite, which he validated by winning Stage 1. However, a side-hit on the restart by Corey LaJoie after the caution for rain, followed by rear contact with Denny Hamlin in the dying stages of the race, spoilt his party.

Chase Elliott, the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) driver, however, led a race-high 44 laps. Denny Hamlin won Stage 2.

Also Read: NASCAR Cup Series: First-lap wrecks hurt two contenders on Daytona Road Course

How did Chase Elliott get wrecked by Corey LaJoie?

Chase Elliott held the lead on Lap 54 when parts of the 3.6-mile track started to receive rain. The caution was out on Lap 56, raising questions about whether the teams would make the switch to rain tires or persist with the slicks instead.

The leaders pitted a lap later, with the teams deciding to stick with the slick tires. Several drivers stayed on track under caution to take the lead, pinning Elliott deep in the field.

However, on the restart, Chase Elliott, who was looking to gain lost ground, was hit by Corey LaJoie from the side.

Elliot, as a result, spun, and was forced off the track and onto the grass. He, however, did well to avoid hitting the advertisement sign in front of him as he made a rather quick recovery.

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Chase Elliott wreck by Denny Hamlin

Chase Elliott had to pull up on the back of Denny Hamlin's car to clean the grass from the grille of his car and was 14th when a caution flag flew for Tyler Reddick's wreck.

Elliott rallied to climb back to the fifth position but with six laps remaining, as he was trying to make his way around Brad Keselowski for fourth, Denny Hamlin hit him from the rear.

This incident in the dying stages of the race meant that Chase Elliott was left with no time to recover.

Also Read: Ryan Blaney's 200th Cup start at Daytona

In the post-race interview, Chase Elliott was evidently frustrated. He said:

"When you have those late-race cautions like that and you have a mixed bag of who stays and who goes, it’s a bit of a gamble either way. You get back in traffic and it just gets to be so chaotic, and then, just depending on who gets through and who doesn’t, kind of determines how it’s going to shake out. I hate it. I made too many mistakes. We went off track and it was just a bad deal. We had a fast NAPA Chevy and I appreciate the effort. I hate it for Corey (LaJoie). He ran me off there, so I thought he was going to take the lane again, so I went to cross him over and I think that time he was actually going to give me the lane. So, go figure. But we’ll try again next week.”

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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