Block ruins Chase Elliott’s day at Fontana

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Chase Elliott probably wants to block this day from memory.

Coming into Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway, Elliott had a goose egg in the win column; his best finish being fourth. Elliott struggled early and hit the wall in Turn 4 on Lap 33. He hit it, again, two laps later and spun out in Turn 2 on Lap 38.

Elliott and the No. 9 team clawed through the rest of the race and with 18 laps to go, he battled for the lead inside of the top-3.

Block ruins Chase Elliott’s day at Fontana

Running third, Elliott veered to the outside of teammate Kyle Larson. Elliott had the momentum and appeared to have the positioning, but Larson blocked late. Elliott checked up to avoid hitting him, which put him in the wall.

“So I didn’t get through (Turns) 3 and 4 very well,” Larson said. “Joey (Logano) did a good job on the bottom, and then we were side drafting each other, and I’m not even looking in my mirror at that point because all I’m worried about is Joey and I’m looking out of my A-post window.”

Elliott dropped outside of the top-10 and was eventually lapped by Larson 10 laps later.

With seven laps to go, Elliott spun out.

During the caution, Elliott asked his team to review the tape before he said anything [to Larson]. A replay during that caution suggested that Larson blocked. On commentary, Matt Kenseth explained that he felt Larson was simply trying to diamond the corner and likely did not know anyone was out there.

“I had a run, so I went to peel off, and as soon as I peeled off, my spotter (Tyler Monn) is yelling, ‘Outside! Outside! Outside,'” Larson said. “And I had no clue he was even coming.”

In the final laps, Larson kept Austin Dillon at bay and earned his first victory of the season.

Elliott finished 26th and leaves Fontana 19th in points.

 

 

TOP IMAGE: James Gilbert/Getty Images