news 1 week ago

Chase Elliott blasts iRacing crew chief Ryan Blaney: 'He was in and out of the room'

Sporting News — (Dan Bernstein)

Chase Elliott might have a close friend in Ryan Blaney, but he found out the hard way this past weekend that he does not have the best crew chief.

His fellow NASCAR competitor was tasked with giving him guidance during the first-ever virtual iRacing Pro Series race made up of a cast of pro drivers on Sunday. The responsibility went largely unfulfilled.

Elliott said Blaney had other priorities, which didn't help him in his uphill battle to adjust to the intricacies of the virtual exhibition at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"I would rate him fair to middling," Elliott told Sporting News. "Not the best. He was in and out of the room refilling beers."

MORE: Timmy Hill interviewed by wife at home after strong iRacing finish

Elliott shared bits of the race from his perspective on social media, including a video that highlighted Blaney's shortcomings.

The 24-year-old, who raced in slippers, said he was at a disadvantage because of a lack of iRacing experience compared to some of his competitors. First-place finisher Denny Hamlin, for example, is renowned for his work on the simulation.

What befuddled Elliott most was the unusual strategy of doing burnouts leaving pit road. He realized later that it provided a hidden advantage to the field.

"I guess it was basically some kind of cheat to get the tires hot," Elliott said. "In (real racing), you would never do that.

Overall, though, Elliott thought the event was a success despite finishing in 24th place. It was an opportunity for drivers to connect with racing fans even with live, in-person action postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When he competes moving forward, he doesn't plan on deploying Blaney for guidance. He said the absence of his pal won't make a difference how he races. If anything, it could help.

"It shouldn't be (a problem not to have him) given our performance this past weekend," Elliott quipped.

The second iRacing Pro Series contest will take place on Sunday at the virtual rendition of Texas Motor Speedway.