Chastain takes full blame for late Darlington crash with Larson
Ross Chastain said he wrecked himself in Turn 1 on the restart with six laps to go in regulation at Darlington Raceway when he collided with Kyle Larson.
The two restarted on the front row in the Goodyear 400 with Chastain choosing the inside line and Larson going to his outside. Chastain and Larson were side-by-side and tight against each other entering the corner, Larson nearly against the wall. When the contact happened, the Trackhouse car got turned into the outside wall across Larson’s nose.
"I got really tight and drove up and turned myself."- Ross Chastain pic.twitter.com/rGfAD0PNg8
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 14, 2023
The incident ended Chastain’s day and he finished 29th. He led 93 laps and won the second stage.
“Full commitment into (Turn) 1, and I got really tight and drove up and turned myself,” Chastain said of what happened. “I wanted to squeeze him. I wanted to push him up. We had been trading back and forth all day, and I wanted to push him up for sure but definitely didn’t want to turn myself into the wall.”
Larson finished the race with damage to the left front of his Chevrolet, ending up 20th on the results sheet after leading 29 laps. He declined a radio interview on pit road and then went to his team hauler without talking to the media.
In the intermediate aftermath of the crash, the No. 5 team expressed frustration over its radio.
“Why did he just run us right into the fence? How does that make any sense?” crew chief Cliff Daniels said. “Makes that three races now he’s taken us out of. Chevrolet, good job. Good job. That’s three races that No. 1 car has taken us out of.”
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Three weeks ago, at Talladega Superspeedway, Chastain and Noah Gragson collided on a restart that collected Larson. Gragson was lined up on the outside of the front row with Chastain behind him and Larson lined up in the third row behind Chastain.
Chastain tried to go for the gap in the middle and made contact with Gragson. Larson spun to the inside and, when he came back up onto the racetrack, was t-boned in the right-side door by Ryan Preece.
At Dover Motor Speedway the following weekend, Chastain got into the back of Brennan Poole going into Turn 1. When Poole spun up the racetrack, he did so into the path of the No. 5 car.
Chastain was the race leader when the incident occurred Sunday at Darlington. He’d been deemed the leader by NASCAR officials when a wreck occurred off the previous restart with 13 laps to go.
At the time of the caution, the Nos. 1 and 5 were racing side-by-side — Chastain on the outside and Larson on the inside. Chastain brushed the wall during the battle and, under caution, gave Larson a nudge to the back bumper on the backstretch.
William Byron avoided the restart crash to take the lead and went on to win the race in overtime.