Race Weekend Central

Tempers Flare Between Noah Gragson, Ross Chastain in One Hot Afternoon at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – If racing fans thought that a Kansas Speedway record 37 lead changes or the last-lap contact between Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin for the win would make the headlines on Monday morning, they would be sorely mistaken.

Just after Hamlin climbed triumphantly from his car (to the jeers of the crowd) after his fourth NASCAR Cup Series win at Kansas — the most of any driver — the crowd, the infield and even the drivers themselves turned to the middle of pit road as a confrontation between Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain quickly escalated into a fistfight.

Neither driver has been a stranger to controversies or run-ins with other drivers throughout their career, and in a race where Gragson had one of his best runs of the season spoiled by tight racing with Chastain out of turn 4, Gragson decided that enough was enough.

“He just fenced us off of [turn] 4 [with] 60 laps to go in the race,” Gragson said. “I don’t get it. Completely used us up and fenced the s–t out of us. I’m not going to tear the Trackhouse guys’ stuff up, I respect their hard work.

“But, you know, nobody confronts the guy. I went down there and grabbed him and showed my displeasure. I’m sick and tired of it, and the guy just runs into everyone. When you got guys like Chase Elliott and other guys telling you to go beat his ass, you know, everyone’s just sick and tired of him but nobody has the balls to go up and get him. I’m tired of it.”

Although the two never touched in the incident, Gragson washed up the track and into the wall after the close racing with Chastain. Gragson later spun and ultimately finished five laps down after making noise inside the top 15 before the contact. The strong run beforehand was another source of frustration for Gragson.

“We had an up-and-down day, we had a really good start of the race,” Gragson said. “Kind of fell back and had a loose wheel issue. The cautions fell our way and then got back up there, and just tired of getting used up.

“Makes it a lot worse because we’ve flat-out sucked this year. You have somewhat of a decent run going and get used up. I mean, everybody else races super hard but super respectful. And you got one douchebag in the field that doesn’t.”

Chastain — who finished fifth in the race and was due for a media session on pit road — immediately sprinted to his hauler after the altercation. He did answer to the media outside the hauler, however, but his answers regarding the altercation were short and concise.

“[It was] tight racing off turn 4, left him one lane exactly, and that was that,” Chastain said.

He also clarified that he was not surprised about Gragson approaching him on pit road after the checkered flag waved.

“He did the same thing after Talladega at the plane, and nothing happened,” Chastain said. “But that wasn’t the first time he’s approached me like that.”

And when asked about what words were exchanged, Chastain kept his lips sealed.

“[The discussion] is between Noah and I.”

With the incident at Talladega Superspeedway and the confrontation at Kansas, it appears that the story between the two is far from over.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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11 Comments
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Echo

Last lap contact between Larson and Hamlin. Come on report it like it is without sugar coating it. Hamlin punted Larson head first into the wall. That is how Hamlin won. If your going to be a reporter, report it as it is. PERIOD.

Bill B

I hate to say it Noah, but you ran yourself into the wall.

TiminPayson

Noah ran out of talent

JD in NC

Ross left Noah a lane. It was tight, but Noah hit the wall by himself. Then he comes up on pit road with his new haircut looking like Kim Jong Un and gets himself punched in the face.

janice

i think noah’s haircut reminds me of moe from the 3 stooges

Bill B

Good one! LOL

DoninAjax

A few in the booth should get one! They have been called stooges for a long time.

Steven

Highly entertaining! Two of Nascars biggest boneheads going at it. Will Nascar spank their naughty butts?

DoninAjax

Who?

Ron

Noah should fee a little embarrassed when he looks at the tape of the “incident.” Not only did Ross give him plenty of room leaving Noah to get into the wall on his own, Noah then goes down the track into the side of Ross’s car. I think Ross Chastain should be the one who is angry with Noah Gragson. (By the way, Noah should find a new barber.)

Bill B

You know he lost a bet with one of the Dillon boys, don’t you?
As the LOSER he had to get a “bowl haircut”. (I don’t know what the bet was about). I’d say he’s paid his bet off and it’s time to just get his head shaved and start fresh. LOL.

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