NASCAR Cup Series championship point leader Chase Elliott was the first driver out of Sunday night’s playoff opener at Darlington Raceway and will finish last.
Elliott spun by himself off the Turn 1 wall on lap 113 before sliding back up the track and collecting fellow playoff driver Chase Briscoe. Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet came to pit road for repairs on the right rear suspension, but the 10-minute DVP clock expired before the repairs were completed and brought an end to Elliott’s race.
NASCAR extended the clock for the damaged vehicle policy to 10 minutes earlier this week. It was a result of collaboration with the teams based on learnings with the Next Gen car. The clock had previously been six minutes.
“Hit the wall there in Turn 2 and broke something in the right rear,” Elliott said after leaving the infield care center.
He started 23rd and was running 13th before the spin.
The regular-season champion, Elliott entered the Cook Out Southern 500 with 40 playoff points and 33 points above the cutline. He will, however, earn only one point from Darlington with a 36th place finish.
Looking ahead to the next two races in the first round at Kansas Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliot simply said they need to, “Run better than we did today.”