Chastain in rivals’ crosshairs again after Dover
It was an all-to familiar scenario on Monday at Dover Motor Speedway: a move from Ross Chastain gone awry that resulted in multiple competitors’ races being affected negatively.
This time, it was Brennan Poole who bore the brunt of Chastain’s miscalculation, and Kyle Larson was also collected.
Caution is out for an incident involving the No. 15 and No. 5 on lap 81 at @MonsterMile. pic.twitter.com/nbwPb18usr
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 1, 2023
Chastain radioed to his No. 1 Trackhouse Racing team that he “didn’t mean to do that at all,” but it didn’t make Poole, who was making his first Cup Series start since 2020, feel any better.
“I feel like I just got ran over,” he told reporters at the infield care center. “As soon as he ran into me, I just kind of got shoved into the corner, like way too deep, and then I was just immediately turned around.”
This marks the second consecutive week Chastain has been involved in a controversial on-track incident. Last week at Talladega, he shot a gap underneath Noah Gragson on an overtime restart, sparking blowback from fans given his track record.
When it was confirmed that Chastain was the driver who made contact with Poole, he wasn’t surprised.
“Go figure,” he said. “I mean, just a joke. Eighty-something laps into a race? No reason. I was side-by-side with the No. 3 (Austin Dillon), just got to the outside and it’s not like I can go anywhere or give him any more room than what I had. He just ran me over. So, it’s kind of pathetic. I don’t know. It seems to be something Ross does a lot recently. Just uncalled for. It was my first time in a new Cup car, and 80 laps out. For what?”
Larson, who finished 42 laps down in 32nd, was understandably frustrated at how his day was impacted by something out of his control yet again.
“Seemed like Ross just kind of got in a hurry there, I’m guessing […] nowhere for me to go, but I just hope our luck turns around soon,” Larson told reporters on pit road post-race. “We have the fastest car every damn weekend and it doesn’t seem to work out.”
With just over 20 laps to go, Chastain was in hot pursuit of eventual race winner Martin Truex Jr. when he came up on the back bumper of Larson’s beaten and battered No. 5 car. Chastain lost about a full second while navigating around Larson, who wasn’t going to admit to purposefully holding him up or retaliating.
“You can take it for whatever you think it might be,” he said. “Just a long frustrating day for me and another day when I get caught up with something that’s not my fault.”
When asked about getting by Larson late, Chastain politely declined to comment. But did take blame for the initial incident with Poole.
“It’s completely my fault,” Chastain said. “I was actually going to follow Brennan past the (No. 3 of Austin Dillon) and he checked up quicker than I thought. Totally my fault.”
Chastain, who finished second, mentioned that he’s off to California to spend a day at the Skip Barber Racing school, but will visit Rick Ware Racing and Poole upon his return to “make some of that right.”