CONCORD, N.C. — If Chase Elliott is still mad at Kyle Busch following the late-race incident between the two on Wednesday at Darlington Raceway, it certainly didn’t show on Friday.
Elliott spoke to members of the media via a video conference Friday afternoon to discuss the incident between himself and Busch for the first time.
“Obviously I hate that it was me that got wrecked,” Elliott said. “I want nothing more than to go win and try to do my part for my team.”
The crash, which took place as Elliott and Busch were battling for second behind eventual Toyota 500 race winner Denny Hamlin, saw Busch come up the track and make contact with Elliott’s left-rear quarter panel.
The resultant contact sent Elliott spinning into the inside wall and out of the race. When Elliott emerged from his car, he patiently waited for Busch to come around the track so he could give him a one-finger salute.
“No regrets. I thought it was warranted and I thought he was deserving,” Elliott said when asked if he had any regrets about his hand gesture.
On Friday, Elliott said the reason he was so upset was because Busch is not known for making many mistakes. In this particular case a rare mistake by Busch cost Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team a shot at a victory, which was a difficult pill for Elliott to swallow.
“Nobody is perfect. I get that. Everybody makes mistakes,” Elliott said. “I’ll make plenty of mistakes as time goes on. I get it. I just hate I was on the wrong end of a rare one on his end.”
Elliott joked he couldn’t have had a physical altercation with Busch after the race due to the social-distancingguidelines that are in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would be kind of hard to fight when you’ve got to stay six feet apart,” Elliott joked. “My arms aren’t long enough.”
Busch and Elliott have discussed the incident, with Busch taking responsibility for the contact and crash. Elliott said he understood it was a mistake, but that didn’t make the end result any easier to deal with.
“We talked about it. Like I told him, I don’t think he wrecked me on purpose. I think that he was trying to make a spot that wasn’t there,” Elliott said. “Much like I told him, I get that mistakes happen. That’s part of life and I get it. He’s just not a guy that makes many mistakes.
“I’ve never had a problem with Kyle and I don’t think he’s ever had a problem with me,” Elliott added later. “Like I said, I don’t think he did it on purpose. Again, I hate that I was on the wrong end of a rare mistake on his end. For a guy that doesn’t make many, I hated it was me that took the blow.”
While the crash left Elliott frustrated and his fanbase irate at Busch, Elliott acknowledged the drama and attention the sport has received as a result is a good thing. He hates that it happened at his expense.
“It was a win for the sport, but it was a loss for me and my team,” Elliott said. “People love drama, they love talking about that stuff. They’ve been doing a lot of it. So at the end of the day there is nothing that we can do about it.”