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NASCAR Cup Series

Chastain Remorses After Incidents with Hamlin, Elliott

(Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. — Ross Chastain captured his ninth top 10 of the season on Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway, but it came with controversy in Stage 2.

On Lap 66, Chastain and Denny Hamlin battled for position in the top 10 when Chastain bumped Hamlin in Turn 1. Hamlin shot up the track and hit the wall, breaking a toe link on the car.

Hamlin pit under caution and repaired his car to meet minimum speed on NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy. He returned to the track well off the pace and targeted Chastain for revenge. On Lap 81, Hamlin attempted to spin Chastain on the backstretch. Hamlin also slowed in front of Chastain several times throughout the race.

Hamlin finished 34th, 11 laps down.

“It ruined our day,” Hamlin told FS1. “[Chastain] tried to keep sliding up in front of us and wasn’t able to because I wasn’t willing to back off and just let him slide up in front.

“We’ve all learned the hard way and we’ve all had it come back around on us, and it’ll be no different.”

On Lap 103, shortly after a restart, Chastain pinched Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon three wide, turning Elliott in front of Bubba Wallace and Harrison Burton. Elliott lined up behind Chastain on the next restart, sending Chastain into the wall exiting Turn 2.

After the race, Chastain took full responsibility for the incidents with both Hamlin and Elliott.

“It was just terrible driving. It’s one thing to do it once, but I just kept driving into guys,” Chastain said. “I have all these people believing in me with Justin Marks and Pitbull putting me in this car. They deserve better.

“I owe half of the field an apology. Words aren’t going to fix it, so I’ll have to pay for it on the track. I almost did today and I deserve everything that they do. I can’t believe I continued to make those same mistakes; overdrive the corners and drive into guys. I had time under caution to get reset, and we’d go green and I would drive into somebody.

“It’s completely unacceptable that I did that. For the No. 11, No. 9, No. 34, so many guys. I was just way off on my driving today. Running into people is not acceptable at this level. I cannot believe, standing here right now, that I just made so many mistakes back-to-back. It’s one thing for one, but I just absolutely drove over my head today. It’s unacceptable.”

Chastain recorded six stage points and 34 points overall. He sits second in the playoff standings and third in driver’s points.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns next weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Nathan Solomon is a sophomore in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as the Sports Editor for his campus newspaper, The BonaVenture, and as the programming director for his campus radio station, WSBU 88.3FM. The station is rated the No. 4 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review. Solomon started his journalism career in 2018 when he began covering hometown Cornell basketball for IvyHoopsOnline. In 2019, Solomon joined Empire Sports Media to contribute New York Yankees' content and started covering NASCAR for the outlet in 2020. In 2021, he covered his first two NASCAR races with Empire Sports Media. Solomon joined TPF in September of 2021. He is also an NMPA journalist.

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