As Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway wound to a close, Elliott had emerged as the leader but Truex was gaining ground quickly.
On Lap 353 of 367, Truex went low and tried to go around Elliott for the race lead entering Turn 1 but Elliott got into the right-rear of Truex’s No. 19 Toyota.
Both cars ended up making hard contact with the wall. Truex briefly took over the race lead but handed it over to Kevin Harvick two laps later when he was forced to pit for a flat tire.
Elliott was able to remain on the track the but damage to his No. 9 Chevrolet was extensive and knocked him out of contention for the win.
Elliott limped home in 20th and Truex 22nd.
Needless to say, each driver had a slightly different take on the incident.
“He (Truex) had a run on me there off of (Turn) 4 and he just kind of cleared himself into (Turn) 1. He was close, but he wasn’t all the way clear, obviously,” Elliott said. “I hate it, obviously we had a fast NAPA Camaro – fast enough to contend.
“We needed a little pace there to extend our lead instead of playing defense, but regardless I thought we were in a good spot. I ran the bottom in (Turns) 3 and 4 to see if there was anything left down there, that’s what kind of gave him the run and then he just slid up in to my left-front, I felt like and on we went.”
Truex said he felt he had enough space to attempt to pass for the lead cleanly.
“It’s Darlington and typically you don’t want to go in side-by-side. I felt like I had enough of a run and enough space there that the last foot or so (Elliott) was going to understand that if I was committed, we both weren’t going to make it,” Truex said.
“Typically, here that’s kind of how you race. If a guy gets a run on you and he’s just about got you cleared, you have to give that last little bit. Now obviously, the end of the race, probably the pass for the win, he wanted to drive it on in there and I was committed to being clear and there was no way we were both going to make the corners.
“Basically, when I made up my mind and I was driving it in there and then he drove in on my right-rear quarter, there was no possible way that we both weren’t crashing. That’s what happened.”
Truex emphasized there was nothing “intentional” about his actions – it was simply a move made in an attempt to win the race.
“Just two guys going for the win and not enough room for both of us there,” Truex said. “If it was my fault, I apologize. I really felt like I had the position to get in there to one.
“That’s how it goes, and we’ll see what goes on from here."