Graveyard Ghosts: Chase Elliott No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet SS

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 5/21/2018

News Racecar Graveyard

NASCAR's longest race of the year ended early for Chase Elliott at Charlotte in 2017 when a chain reaction event knocked him of the running after just 20 laps.

Driver: Chase Elliott

Car: No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS

Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28, 2017)

Bio: Just 20 laps into the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race, Chase Elliott found himself in a world of hurt.

Battling among the top five with Brad Keselowski, Elliott came off Turn 4 headed down to the dogleg on the front stretch and suddenly slowed, with flames licking out from under his No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Just ahead of him, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Kerry’s son, had troubles of his own with the rear end of his Chevrolet, resulting in a large puff of smoke from the rear.

Elliott, steaming up from behind, ran into a large piece of debris from that event, which punched through the front valance and into the oil cooler on his car. That set things ablaze under Elliott’s car, and he pulled down to the inside of the track while he could still steer. Seems rather unremarkable to this point, does it not?

The arrival of Keselowski at full song made it remarkable.

BK’s No. 2 machine struck Elliott’s car at nearly full speed with a ton of closing momentum. It pushed the front of Keselowski’s car a long way under Elliott’s, with predictable results. Both cars were destroyed, the back end of Elliott’s and the front end of Keselowski’s, and both were eliminated on the spot. It didn’t help that Earnhardt, despite an effort to get out of the racing groove, had dumped a bunch of rear-end grease on the track. Keselowski couldn’t have avoided Elliott’s car had he wanted to, and he definitely wanted to.

Elliott finished 38th and Keselowski 39th in the traditional Memorial Day event, their races over before the end of the first stage...and 380 laps from the checkered flag.

Elliott’s car sits, in all its hump-backed glory, amid machines that in some cases had suffered similar fates. That, of course, makes the tales from car crypt that much more poignant.