For the first l90 laps of Sunday’s double overtime and record-length Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott was locked in, leading for 86 laps after starting the race in 13th position.
But a broken toe link caused by contact with the wall forced his crew into a long repair that would exceed the allowable length of NASCAR’s Damaged Vehicle Policy, prematurely ending a night that looked promising for Elliott.
A week after crashing out at the All-Star Race, Elliott had no trouble regrouping at Charlotte and found himself in the lead after just 63 laps.
From that point, the race would be dominated by him and Ross Chastain, with the two exchanging the lead for well over the next 100 laps.
With Elliott finishing Stage One in the lead and securing a crucial playoff point, all looked to be going smoothly.
But shortly before the end of Stage Two, he made contact with the wall on the right rear of the car, resulting in a broken toe link and blown tire.
While Elliott’s car was being worked on, the crew had six minutes to make a repair and get the car back out to the track to reach minimum speed to reset the repair clock.
Almost immediately after the green flag waved following the caution induced by Elliott’s spin out, a massive multi-car incident paused the race once more.
At that point, it was determined that Elliott’s team had not brought the car back to the track in time to reach minimum speed before the latest caution, finishing his night for good.
Despite the early exit, his Stage One win and long run at the front earned enough points to keep him at the front of the points standings with 489.
With nine top-10 finishes, 445 total laps led and three stage wins, Elliott is currently projected to be second in the playoff standings, according to NASCAR. Only Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron has led more laps than Elliott this season.
While Chastain would lead the most laps at Charlotte and is now second in the points standings, Elliott’s 86 laps led proved enough to be the second-most, showing how wild the race proved to be.
All told, the Coca-Cola 600 finished after over five hours with well over half the field involved in an accident at some point in the race. Denny Hamlin would win on the last lap, just getting past Kyle Busch at the finish line.