Chase Elliott Wins at Talladega, Denny Hamlin Calls Out NASCAR: Sunday Money from Marty Smith

by Dustin Schutte

Not to oversimplify things too much, but if there’s been a theme to the 2022 NASCAR season, it’s to expect the unexpected. About the only thing predictable this year has been Chase Elliott‘s ability to finish near the top.

Elliott drove his car to victory lane for a fifth time this season, winning the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Thanks to his victory last weekend, the No. 9 driver advances to the Round of 8 — the only one to secure his spot.

In this week’s edition of Sunday Money, Marty Smith talks about Elliott’s big win at Talladega. He also addresses Denny Hamlin’s concerns with the Next Gen car and talks about Jordan Anderson’s scary crash during the NASCAR Truck Series race.

Chase Elliott Heads to Victory Lane Again

Consistency is key for a driver trying to win a NASCAR Cup Series championship. Elliott has delivered on that front in 2022. The 26-year-old driver has posted 19 finishes in the top-10 and claimed his fifth checkered flag last weekend.

In this week’s Sunday Money, Marty Smith talked about Elliott’s incredible rise to stardom in the racing world.

“He’s a special kid, man. He’s this amazing lynchpin — like he’s kinda carrying on the Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. role in the sport,” Smith said. “He inherited popularity but he’s taking that inheritance and building upon the last name.”

Smith broke down Elliott’s impressive move to the front of the line late in the race. He was then able to hold off Ryan Blaney to secure a spot in the Round of 8.

“Let’s talk about that final move for a second. … He had less than a foot in the front and the rear of his racecar to slide up in front of Erick Jones to the high line. And it was remarkably done. … Ultimately, he outruns Ryan Blaney to win his fifth race of the season.”

Denny Hamlin Calls Out NASCAR

On the track, unpredictability has been a theme during the NASCAR season. Another unfortunate theme, however, has been the concerns over the Next Gen car. Since early in the season, drivers have expressed some worry over the safety on the new model.

Denny Hamlin had no trouble calling out NASCAR this weekend. The driver pointed to “bad leadership” within the organization for the continued issues with the Next Gen car.

Marty Smith says Hamlin put NASCAR on notice with his recent comments and continued criticism.

“NASCAR’s on notice. Steve Phelps, Scott Miller, everybody involved down there is on notice to make this racecar safer,” Smith said. “I will tell you this, I was with one of the Cup Series drivers … I think it was April, and that race driver was voicing concerns to me that this car was not as safe as it should be and the hits felt harder than the previous iteration of the NASCAR racing machine. And now, that’s 100% the narrative from Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.”

Smith said the physical toll hits are taking on drivers is dangerous for the sport and its athletes.

“Drivers cannot keep taking these hits. Ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. — he is the foremost expert on this,” Smith said. “You take one hit, you get concussed, the next one comes easier. You get another, the next one comes easier and they continue to build on themselves.”

Marty Smith Gives His Favorites for Charlotte

Looking to help boost your NASCAR fantasy roster for the Bank of America Roval 400? Marty Smith provided some guys to keep an eye on this weekend in Charlotte.

“Chase Elliott is awesome at The Roval. Ryan Blaney — who finished second at Talladega Superspeedway — is awesome at The Roval. Those guys need to be on your fantasy team, they need to be in your lineup because they’re really good. A.J. Allmendinger also somebody to look at,” Smith said.