If you watch FOX these days or ask any of the many NASCAR fans, Ross Chastain is often considered responsible for on-track incidents. He seems to carelessly wreck anyone in his way to get ahead of the competition.
The exciting Kansas Speedway NASCAR race, where Denny Hamlin managed to overtake Kyle Larson during the last lap to clinch the victory, was somewhat marred by an altercation that took place between them shortly afterward.
Noah Gragson, a NASCAR newcomer, had a premature end to his race when he completely lost control of the vehicle and crashed. This spin occurred only a few laps after Chastain flew toward Gragson, causing him to hit the wall.
Subsequent to the race, Gragson approached Chastain, a man who has been involved in several on-track altercations. A physical altercation occurred when Gragson grabbed ahold of Chastain, and Chastain retaliated by punching him before the two were pulled apart. Following the incident, Gragson stated that he was urged by other drivers to confront Chastain and thought that it was necessary for someone to do so.
During an interview with Motor Racing Network, Gragson expressed, “Nobody wants to stand up to the guy. I personally went over there and grabbed ahold of him. It’s just frustrating. He collides with everyone, and nobody confronts him about it. When drivers like Chase Elliott and others tell you to go and teach him a lesson… Everyone is fed up with Chastain, but no one takes any action. I’m sick of it.”
Chastain implied that he threw the punch at Gragson due to a remark made by someone on his team. Chastain stated to the media, “Gragson approached me and held onto me. A very important person once informed me that the Trackhouse has a policy against pushing.”
Chastain has been involved in multiple clashes with others, such as Kyle Busch, a two-time champion. After a 2022 race, Busch coined the term “Chastain’d” following an incident involving Chastain.
“We were Chastain’d this past week,” Busch informed Fox Sports prior to the 2022 Richmond race. “This week, we were victims.”
However, Chastain’s most well-known opponent on the racetrack is Hamlin.
Hamlin had been involved in multiple wrecks caused by Chastain. However, during the latter stages of the Pocono race in 2022, Hamlin managed to get payback against Chastain while the drivers fought for first.
In the past, NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr. consistently defends Chastain.
In 2022, Earnhardt Jr. spoke about Martin Truex Jr. getting upset with him after a crash incident involving Chastain.
Following Chastain’s causing Truex to crash during the final lap at Dover, Earnhardt Jr., who is friends with both of them, defended Chastain’s aggressive driving style, stating that the NASCAR association should have more drivers like that.
Although Chastain is often seen as the bad guy in NASCAR due to his involvement in on-track incidents, some believe that if NASCAR were to promote him differently instead of always portraying him as the culprit, he could also be viewed as a hero.
In fact, having a driver who is able to be both a villain and a hero could revitalize the sport and bring in a new audience.