Chase Elliott’s crew comes inches away from choking away NASCAR season with penalty

Chase Elliott has led more laps at Martinsville than at any other race in his NASCAR Cup Series career, but his effort was almost derailed by a rogue crew member jumping over the wall on pit road too soon.

Elliott, who is trying to make the Championship 4, was initially penalized for the early jump; moments later, NASCAR rescinded the call, saying the crew member reestablished position behind the wall in time.

A penalty would have dropped Elliott from the top five in the final stage of the Xfinity 500 to below 20th place.

Take a look at the close call:

The frenzy nonetheless contributed to Elliott losing a couple of spots on the race off pit road: A violation would have made things much worse, though.

This isn’t the first time NASCAR has given Elliott the benefit of the doubt this postseason. A couple of weeks ago, it failed to black flag him for radio malfunction before acknowledging later that week it should have brought him off the track to address the situation.

Elliott is fighting for the final advancement spot but faces stiff competition.

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