Elliott crashes out of lead; doesn't blame Goodyear for Texas tire drama

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Elliott crashes out of lead; doesn't blame Goodyear for Texas tire drama

NASCAR

Elliott crashes out of lead; doesn't blame Goodyear for Texas tire drama

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A wild day at Texas Motor Speedway claimed race leader Chase Elliott on lap 184 and ended the chance of a race win for the NASCAR Cup Series playoff leader.

Elliott hit the wall off Turn 4 when a right rear tire came apart on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. At first, he was limping his damaged car down the frontstretch when it caught on fire, and he was forced to park in the grass and make an exit.

“Something came apart,” Elliott said. “I could hear it flapping in the right rear fender well. I don’t know, but if it wasn’t down, it was certainly coming apart. One of the two.”

Elliott will finish 32nd. He led 44 laps.

The regular season champion, Elliott entered the day atop the playoff leaderboard. With the playoff grid reset to begin the Round of 12 Sunday, he now loses the 31-point advantage he had on the cutline.

“It’s not a great position to be in for sure, but it is what it is now,” he said. “I hate it for our No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet team. We were actually decent here for once, so that was nice while it lasted. We’ll go to Talladega, try to get a win, and go on down the road.”

The No. 9 was not the first car to experience a tire issue in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Before the issue on Elliott’s right rear, Christopher Bell suffered two rear failures (the second ended his race), and Cole Custer also had a right rear issue.

Elliott, however, did not lay the blame directly on Goodyear.

“I’m not sure that Goodyear is at fault,” he said. “Goodyear always takes the black eye, but they’re put in a really tough position by NASCAR to build a tire that can survive these types of racetracks with this car. I wouldn’t blame Goodyear.”

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