CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott truly enjoyed burying his No. 9 Chevrolet in the Turn 1 tire barrier … the second time.
After seemingly throwing away his shot to win Sunday’s Roval race at Charlotte Motor Speedway by nosing head first into the wall while leading on a Lap 65 restart, Elliott stormed back from 31st to win.
As he began his burnout celebration on the frontstretch, inspiration struck to revisit the scene of his self-induced crime.
“Man, I’ve got to redeem myself in this corner,” Elliott said with a laugh on the NBCSN postrace show. “Motor’s done, rear tires are done. But I felt like it was worth it to get redemption right there. I couldn’t pass it up.”
Elliott drove his No. 9 Chevrolet back to the same spot and sent plumes of white smoke skyward to the delight of the crowd.
“Yeah, I was pretty excited about that one,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “I’m typically not very quick‑witted, but I was really proud of that. I was pretty fired up.
“Definitely it should have never been special in the first place, but since I went out of my way to make it special today, I felt like I had to go back and see it one more time.
Elliott said he simply misjudged the corner, driving about five car lengths too deep before hitting the brakes. Though the impact was significant, he managed to avoid damaging the fragile areas around the splitter (“the saving grace of the whole thing”) and radiator.
“I’m not sure you can do something more stupid than what I did leading that race,” he said. “That was just dumb. Got so lucky that it wasn’t tore up bad.
“I don’t know how I didn’t kill it, to be honest with you. Our guys did a really nice job of fixing it. A lot of times when you have damage like that, you can make it worse and break fenders and do things that you don’t need to do.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick missed seeing his driver’s celebration but “thought it was really neat” when told about it later. “I think Chase, he doesn’t give himself enough credit,” Hendrick said. “He told me after the race he kind of made a big mistake. Man, you drove the wheels off the car and you won, you came back. I think that’s the toughest corner in it. But I think that was cool that he did that (celebration).”