Dale Earnhardt Jr Joins Hands With Corey LaJoie in Chase Elliott’s Defence as He Rubbishes Favoritism Claims

Published 06/01/2023, 12:13 PM EDT

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The 2023 Coca-Cola 600 yielded multiple storylines on Monday. First and foremost, Ryan Blaney returned to Victory Lane after an absence of more than a year. There were also a few altercations during the race, including an altercation involving Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace. Finally, there was a big incident between Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott. As it happened, the #9 driver appeared to intentionally wreck the #11 Toyota.

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The last time someone took out another driver like that, the offending driver was suspended for one race. However, since Elliott is regarded as the most popular driver, some believed that he would escape the sanctions.

NASCAR soon shot that conspiracy theory down in the following days. To be precise, they slapped Elliott with a one-race suspension for intentionally wrecking Hamlin. The decision divided some in the NASCAR community, with Corey LaJoie and Dale Earnhardt Jr defending Elliott.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Debunked the Chase Elliott Conspiracy Theory

Dale Jr, in the latest installment of his Dale Jr Download podcast, mentioned, “There is an odd narrative and there’s tension in the room between NASCAR and Hendrick. The penalty situation, the whole thing, the appeal getting turned over. I really don’t know where that stands, where everyone is in terms of NASCAR, the industry, Hendrick, and all that.”

“Jeff Gordon and all the employees, I don’t know where they all are in terms of ‘Are they good, little bit awkward’. We don’t know that NASCAR’s like trying to protect Chase and we do know that Denny gets under the skin a little bit.”

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“I don’t know that is going to factor into it, I do not believe that, I do not believe that, NASCAR plays favorites.”

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The former Hendrick Motorsports star was referring to a previous transgression by the team. Earlier, the team copped a massive penalty for technical infringements. Following an appeal, the sentence was reduced, which only fuelled fan speculations of favoritism. However, this suspension for Elliott surely ends that rumor.

Dale Jr’s stance was the same as the driver replacing Elliott, Corey LaJoie. The Spire Motorsports driver first told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, “I don’t believe that Chase should be suspended. Don’t agree with it, I don’t like it, it’s not a good look. Then again, the #5 squeezed Bubba more egregiously than the #11 stuck the #9 in this instance.” 

The #7 Chevy driver then went on to address how Elliott didn’t mention anywhere that the wreck was intentional, and how his silence would factor into NASCAR’s decision-making. As he waited for the governing body’s decision, he didn’t believe in the so-called favoritism as well.

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The Ex-NASCAR Driver Defended the Officials’ Decision-Making Process

Dale Earnhardt Jr explained his reasons, “NASCAR has more information than any of us and makes a decision based off of what they’re looking at. I know that we sit here and raise hell about the decisions that they make sometimes. In the short track package, we railed on them earlier in the season over a few things. I do disagree with a lot of things, I’m a traditionalist. When I get in the same room with NASCAR, and I say, ‘show me why this is the way it is’, they have good information that will convince you.”

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“Alright, I see why you made that decision NASCAR, I see why you came to that conclusion. It’s not like, ‘Oh we like this guy more, so we’re going to go easy’. They can’t run an organization like that.”

In essence, he is suggesting that the officials hold all the cards. As a result, they are in a better position to play judge, jury, and executioner. The fans and the drivers can only access limited data, which may not tell the whole story. Owing to this, Dale Jr admitted that he would love to speak to officials and seek clarification.

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At the end of the day, he insisted that the sporting officials cannot afford to be biased.

WATCH THIS STORY: From Kyle Busch to Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 5 NASCAR Drivers Who Have Built Multi-Million-Dollar Empires

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Written by:

Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a Senior Motorsports Writer at EssentiallySports, with an impressive track record of over 13K articles. He not only writes engaging content but regularly connects readers with some of the biggest racing names thanks to his ability to churn out exclusive interviews. From F1 driver Pierre Gasly to Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino, Dhruv has established himself as an authoritative voice in the world of motorsports.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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