Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice?: It’s All Ross Chastain’s Fault?

Did You Notice? … It’s all Ross Chastain’s fault? It’s the NASCAR Cup Series blame game of the week; forget indictments, Hendrick Motorsports appeals, even Donald Trump for a second, because Chastain is the source of all evil.

Chocolate Myers summed it up best on his SIRIUS XM Radio show Monday (April 3). Myers explained that if there’s a race in town, and Ross is in it … any crash is “going to be his fault.”

Let’s read from the list of grievances.

Ross, it’s all your fault Christopher Bell left room for you to get to his inside this past weekend at Richmond Raceway. Restarts should always be orderly, especially at the end of the race with minimal aggression from the country’s best drivers. Passing is easy to achieve, right, with modern aerodynamics, even easier with 20 laps remaining to get to the front.

It’s Chastain’s fault Bell locked up the brakes, without contact, hitting William Byron instead and sending a guy who led a race-high 117 laps right out of contention. Hope he has the money to pay for all that damage and a replica trophy to hand to William instead.

While he’s at it, better get a second one for Christopher.

“It was a pretty standard restart,” Bell said. “With the [No.] 1 behind you.”

Clearly, it’s Chastain’s fault Denny Hamlin is going in front of a NASCAR Appeals Board Thursday, April 6, after incurring a $50,000 fine and losing 25 driver points for retaliation. Ross is to blame after a year’s worth of back-and-forth contact in 2022 caused Hamlin to put the hammer down and retaliate … during a meaningless final restart at Phoenix Raceway in March 2023.

Mean, mean Ross! He pulled a MarioKart move at Martinsville Speedway, leaving Hamlin blindsided, during a 2022 open feud where the No. 11 Toyota driver made clear, time and again, he needed to get even. No one would have blinked an eye if Chastain got tagged in the fall after several unintentional incidents and only one “return the favor” from Hamlin (at Pocono Raceway early in the summer).

“I mean, we’re just going to keep racing hard until we get the respect back from these guys,” Hamlin said then. “It’s not just that. We’ve been wrecked four times, twice while leading in the last 10 months. I’m at the end of it.”

Apparently, Chastain takes the hit for Hamlin whiffing at Martinsville, then waiting another six months to strike back before openly blabbing about it on a podcast to the point NASCAR felt forced to act. Hope Ross made a nice donation to Hamlin’s charity of choice after finishing as championship runner-up (Hamlin wound up fifth). After all, Ross should have given up all those positions and just offered up a Championship 4 spot to Denny on a silver platter.

In fact, maybe JJ Yeley has the wrong guy after accusing Hamlin of disrespect at Richmond; Hamlin obviously was daydreaming of whacking Chastain when he flat out ran over the No. 15. If only Ross wasn’t in the race.

Gosh, Ross was to blame for every restart in NASCAR overtime at Circuit of the Americas. Did you see how many people spun out? And Bubba Wallace must have been clearly thinking of Chastain when he divebombed Kyle Larson. How dare Ross be on the track at some undetermined point ahead of him!

Man, Ross, how dare you forget to remind me to renew my driver’s license before it expired. That $55 ticket the other day is all because of you; there’s a fee for paying online so just add that extra $1.75. Get on it, I’ve got Venmo; this isn’t hard. I’m still waiting.

What a horrible crime for Chastain to be one of the sport’s aggressive drivers, vowing to get every inch out of every lap as he works to be the best driver possible for himself and Trackhouse Racing. Other criminals come to mind like Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart that drivers used to complain about in their younger days.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame should do a better job listing felonies underneath their displays. Maybe they’ll get to it sometime this year.

Speaking of Stewart, poor Tony should be furious at Chastain. The poor guy might be stealing Anheuser-Busch from under Stewart-Haas Racing’s nose. Hope they leave a 30-pack on the way out!

I hope the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt bulldozer leaves a little extra to shovel on top of Chastain’s motorhome if the dirt race doesn’t turn out the way fans want on Easter. And if the bunny doesn’t give you enough chocolate? Chastain better be showing up in a suit with a basket for your kids. It’s only fair.

Last I checked, Chastain is to blame for 25 top-10 finishes since the start of last season. No one has more (he’s tied with Bell). Two victories and a long-term contract extension for a Trackhouse team that didn’t even own his car until the end of 2021. He’s currently to blame for the second-best average finish this season (behind points leader Alex Bowman) and one of just four drivers to complete every single lap.

Right there. Look at all those drivers complaining! They’ve really put their money where their mouth is and made sure Chastain’s day has been shortened somewhere. That he’s fallen and he can’t get up.

Looks like Chastain … is still standing. Man, Ross, you’re so responsible for getting the last laugh on them all.

Did You Notice? … Quick hits before we head for the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Race …

  • Only one dirt ringer (Jonathan Davenport) is attempting Bristol Dirt on the NASCAR Cup Series level. And while the driver nicknamed “Superman” on the dirt late model scene is a great get, the sport could have done a better job attracting some additional names. Special events should have some special people associated around them.
  • What’s going on with Legacy Motor Club? Only Cody Ware was slower than Erik Jones at times this past weekend at Richmond. Noah Gragson still doesn’t have a top-10 finish; he crashed out and refused comment at Richmond (his Rookie of the Year rival, Ty Gibbs, is pulling away from him with three straight). Even seven-time-Cup-champ-turned-moonlighting car owner Jimmie Johnson has failed to finish both races he’s entered. How did a team that won the Southern 500 last fall start 2023 this far on the wrong foot?

Follow @NASCARBowles

About the author

The author of Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 40+ staff members as its majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. Based outside Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild. He most recently consulted with SRX Racing, helping manage cutting-edge technology and graphics that appeared on their CBS broadcasts during 2021 and 2022.

You can find Tom’s writing here, at CBSSports.com and Athlonsports.com, where he’s been an editorial consultant for the annual racing magazine for 15 years.

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6 Comments
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dawg

My guess would be, that sponsors are lining up to buy space on the 1 car. Knowing it will be featured prominently during the broadcast.

While poor aggrieved Hamlin’s long time sponsor is heading for the exit.

The NASCAR appeals court should fine him double, for wasting their time.

Kurt Smith

If you ask me to comment about Ross Chastain, I’d only say one thing…dude is a damned good driver. The guy is in the thick of it every week while driving for a team that isn’t (yet) a NASCAR powerhouse. Reminds me of Kyle Larson when he came up in a lot of ways.

So he gets under veteran drivers’ skins? Good for him for learning what took Joey Logano several years to learn…that these same guys bitching about you being aggressive aren’t gonna give you an inch on the racetrack for being a nice guy.

Besides that, the guy is bringing a lot of color to a sport that desperately needs it. His banzai move at Martinsville might have been the coolest thing I’ve ever seen watching NASCAR.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kurt Smith
Bill B

Ross Chastain…. best thing to happen to NASCAR since Jeff Gordon. He’s ruffling the feathers of the established drivers, what do you expect them to do? Race harder? Hell no, whine louder!

I don’t care what you say, Hamlin is NASCARs “Shooter McGavin”. Bitter as hell that he hasn’t got a championship and thinking it his “turn”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill B
Ron

When I saw the headline for this article, I assumed it would include a discussion of Christopher Bell’s misplaced comment about Ross Chastain being a “wrecking ball.” I didn’t see the race but saw the clip of Bell post-race comments. Knowing that Chastain is a somewhat aggressive driver, I assumed that he had gotten into Bell and sent him into William Byron. The next day I saw the helicopter (drone?) video of the incident. There’s absolutely no evidence of Chastain being a “wrecking ball.” In fact, he never touched Bell and did nothing wrong when moving to his inside. Bell was solely responsible for spinning Byron.
Admittedly, Bell didn’t see the replay before making his comments, but to this time, I’ve seen nothing that Bell has apologized to Chastain for his misplaced remark.

Fed Up

Typical Gibbs/23XI drivers. It’s always someone else’s fault.

kb

Well, the same old queens and some new young queens (who drive for HMS and JGR), are just a bunch of whining beotches. Logano and Melon Man are the go-to guys to get on the on-air post-race bitch and moan therapy sessions, just for breathing the same air!! The queens always clutching their pearls of course wear halo’s, just ask them!

Last edited 1 year ago by kb
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