Chase Elliott Benched for Intentionally Crashing Hamlin; Corey LaJoie Driving Hendrick No. 9
The sport's most popular driver will be benched for Sunday's event at WWT Raceway, with Corey LaJoie filling in as the interim driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9.
Following the ongoing controversy stemming from an accident at the halfway point of Monday's Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR has elected to suspend Chase Elliott for the Cup Series' next event at Gateway.
Elliott, who was already sidelined for six events earlier this season after suffering a broken left tibia, will sit out a seventh, this time a result of a penalty assessed by NASCAR.
“We understand NASCAR’s need to maintain consistency in its officiating,” said Hendrick Motorsports in a team statement.”The penalty will not be appealed, and we will submit a formal request for a playoff waiver.”
Corey LaJoie, who usually competes on a full-time basis in the NASCAR Cup Series for Spire Motorsports, will be loaned to Hendrick Motorsports for Sunday's Enjoy Illinois 300.
The 31-year-old driver will have the best opportunity of his career, driving the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports.
We are grateful to Corey for stepping in and to the team at Spire Motorsports for making him available,” continued the championship-winning organization.
The penalty announcement comes less than 24 hours after Denny Hamlin, the other driver involved in the accident, called for the sport's most popular driver to be suspended, after "right-rear hooking" the No. 11 into the frontstretch wall.
According to NASCAR's Penalty Report, Elliott was in violation of Sections 4.3.A; 4.4.C & E of the NASCAR Cup Series Rule Book which specifically dictates a set of guidelines for NASCAR Members.
Elliott will return to his seat in the No. 9, and LaJoie his seat in the No. 7, for next weekend's NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway.
Image Courtesy of Will Bellamy, Racing America