Chase Elliott was headed toward a good finish in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Nashville. Then the wheels nearly came off.
That cost him big time after the race.
Elliott was disqualified after NASCAR inspectors ruled that five lug nuts on the No. 9 car were loose. It is not clear how many tires were affected. He was dropped from 13th place to last, which on Sunday was 39th. The reigning Cup Series champion lost all but one of the points he earned in the race.
The fact that Elliott won Stage 1 made the penalty even more severe. He lost the 10 bonus points and one playoff point for the stage win. Stage 1 runner-up Kurt Busch was awarded those points.
MORE: NASCAR at Nashville results, highlights
Elliott radioed to his team during the closing laps that he felt a vibration in the left rear, but the team elected to keep Elliott on the track rather than pit.
“The lug nuts on the No. 9 were loose at the end of the race. At the end of the race Chase had a vibration,” Chad Knaus, vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports, said in a statement (per Jayski.com
Elliott’s teammate Kyle Larson won the race, his fourth win in a row counting the All-Star Race. As for the other Hendrick drivers, William Byron finished third and Alex Bowman finished 14th.