Jake Crum and Ryan Ellis were two drivers that needed to have good runs on Friday evening for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. After both drivers got into an incident early in the race, Crum and Ellis were racing side-by-side on the backstretch on Lap 87 when Crum drove into Ellis, damaging each of their underfunded trucks.
Whether it was intentional or not, Crum and Ellis were each driving for part-time organizations. Crum was able to continue on, but Ellis was not.
Making his first start since a 19th place finish at Bristol last August, Crum was poised to have a solid evening while driving for Empire Racing. However, he was collected in an accident less than 20 laps after the incident with Ellis, destroying his No. 82 Ford.
Ellis had plenty of support on social media as drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Parker Kligerman, David Ragan (who was spotting for Ellis) and Kasey Kahne commented on the incident which seemed to be intentional. After the race, Ellis explained his side of the incident, and requested for Crum to message him on Twitter to discuss things over.
“Initially we had gotten together where he ran me down on the apron and wrecked us which was fine because neither of our trucks got hurt. I really just forgot about it. I tried to side draft him a little bit to try to get a position back, and I just miscalculated how close we got,” Crum said on Saturday afternoon on the phone.
“We came down and I just got into the back of him. I felt really bad for what had happened. A few laps later, we got blown to pieces. I hate that (the wreck with Ellis) happened. It wasn’t intentional. I don’t race like that and I don’t intend to just wreck a guy on purpose. It was just my mistake that I hope never happens again.”
Crum also stated that the car was damaged during the first incident, and his right-front toe “was pretty messed up.”
However, no matter what Crum has to say, Ellis’ FDNY Racing Chevrolet is destroyed. FDNY Racing is a part-time organization that runs based upon volunteers that like to race. Ellis does not make any profit in driving for FDNY Racing, and was just going out there to have a good run for the team’s owner, New York native, Jim Rosenblum.
“We exchanged texts back and forth. I tried to call him a couple of times, but he’s in Iowa doing the Nationwide stuff, so he said he’s going to call me later.”
Ellis is currently preparing to race the No. 46 car at Iowa for The Motorsports Group. Crum, however, is working on possibly getting some more races with Empire Racing, but could not comment whether or not he will be able to get back on track with the team this season.