As you may have heard, Ross Chastain spent a full day extending over three and a half hours driving on Sunday to finish fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400.
Everyone saw the post-race punch Chastain landed on rookie Noah Gragson. However, if you tuned into the FS1 broadcast too late, you missed a verbal shot that Chastain landed on a retired driver.
Ross Chastain had a good Sunday
Ross Chastain came to Kansas Speedway with a three-point lead in the NASCAR Cup Series standings and left the race with a 31-point lead after finishing fifth. He hasn’t won yet, but the Trackhouse Racing’s No. 1 Chevy driver has five top five finishes and four more in the top 13 in a dozen starts.
Chastain also has four stage wins, each worth one playoff point, and is almost halfway to the regular-season championship, which would add another 15 playoff points. Sure, he’ll almost certainly need some wins along the way, but the Florida watermelon grower is preparing to return to Championship 4.
Things got physical with Noah Gragson after the race
Legacy Motor Club rookie Noah Gragson had a solid run through 200 of the scheduled 267 laps at the Kansas Speedway. After qualifying 22ndGragson worked his way up to 12th at the end of Stage 1. He then used the pit cycle at the end of Stage 2 to climb to third place and take eight points.
In turn, the No. 42 Chevy cycled back to 28th place before Gragson worked his way back into the top five on lap 193. But Gragson fell behind and found himself side by side with Ross Chastain coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 206. The #1 Chevy didn’t seem to make contact as Chastain came up the track, but the aero effect was enough to destabilize the #42 Chevy and pin Gragson against the wall.
Gragson had to pit four times over eight laps for tire and adjustment adjustments. At the end of the sequence he was five laps down. Late in the race, Chastain passed when Gragson slid forward to make his presence felt, but there was no contact.
They found each other right after the race, and words escalated to physical contact when Gragson grabbed Chastain, who responded with a punch before security stepped in.
Ross Chastain started his day with a shot at Michael Waltrip
Of all the things Fox Sports gets wrong in its NASCAR Cup Series telecasts, Michael Waltrip’s pre-race grid walk is the easiest to avoid. The “interviews” with three or four drivers are usually one question apiece, and none of them elicit particularly insightful answers.
Sunday’s walk brought to Ross Chastain Waltrip, who won four of the 784 Cup Series starts and was also a team owner. Waltrip kicked off the encounter by stating that Chastain was the week’s story after his incident with Brennan Poole. The rest went like this:
Waltrip: “But I know you, you’re a competitor. Put on the helmet, close the shield and let’s go.”
Chastain: “Yeah, sometimes I just do it to cover up my haircut. But this week I’m fine. Maybe you need a helmet again.”
Waltrip: “You think the haircut is a little off?”
Chastain: “I hope they gave you something.”
My goodness. Just when you think you’ve had enough of Chastain, he delivers.
Do you have a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column every Friday. Write to him [email protected]
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