Race Weekend Central

Rick Hendrick Sounds Off on Ross Chastain: ‘If You Wreck Us, You’re Going To Get It Back’

DARLINGTON, S.C.- For the third time in the last four NASCAR Cup Series races (Talladega Superspeedway, Dover Motor Speedway, and Darlington Raceway on May 14), an incident involving Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson occurred.

This time seems to be a last straw for both Larson and Rick Hendrick, the latter of which was candid in the media center about the No. 1 car and his run-ins with the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5.

On the second-to-last restart with six laps to go, both cars were on the front row; Chastain squeezed Larson into the fence in a move that ultimately caused the No. 1 to be out of the race and the No. 5 to finish 20th with Hendrick teammate William Byron getting the win.

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Tension was building in the previous restarts as Larson and Chastain were close to making contact. In all three instances — one with 92 laps left, another with 13 left and the last with six to go — neither driver left the other any room. Chastain was just the one who tried the move incorrectly, ending both of their bids for the win.

Hendrick appeared to be frustrated with Chastain post-race despite Byron getting the team’s first win at Darlington since 2012.

“It’s hard to win a championship when you have a lot of paybacks out there,” Hendrick said on Chastain. “He’s got a lot of talent, but he’s making a lot of enemies out here.”

Both Larson and crew chief Cliff Daniels were pissed as well with Chastain and Chevrolet for allowing this to continue to happen.

“Make that three races now he has taken us out of,” Daniels said on the team radio. “Chevrolet, good job, good job. Three races that 1 car has taken us out.”

Does Hendrick believe Chevy should step in?

“Well, I don’t know if Chevrolet can cool it down,” Hendrick said. “I don’t know that. That’s not the way they usually operate. It’s either NASCAR or the drivers, the owners.”

As mentioned, this is the third time in the last four races that an action by Chastain has gotten Larson to be caught up in it. Talladega was the one where Chastain made the bold move inside of Noah Gragson that resulted in Larson’s wreck with Ryan Preece. Then at Dover, Chastain moved Brennan Poole, and that collected Larson as well.

“This one and Dover and just Talladega, it’s really getting old with these guys,” Hendrick said.

Hendrick was also very honest in that loyalty to Chevy will not play a role in if his drivers should pay him back.

“I don’t care if he’s driving a Chevrolet if he wrecks our cars. I don’t care, and I told Chevrolet that,” Hendrick said. “I’m loyal to Chevrolet, but when somebody runs over us, then I expect my guys to hold their ground. I’m not going to ask them to yield just because of Chevrolet.”

Has this reached a point where both owners (Hendrick and Justin Marks of Trackhouse Racing) need to get involved?

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“Well, I would think Justin [Marks} would have a conversation and say, you know, we’re going to,” Hendrick said “It’s going to be hard, again, if you have a lot of people wanting to pay you back, then it’s hard to win a championship that way. He’s got talent enough to do that.”

At the end of the day, Hendrick does believe it’s ultimately up to the drivers to settle the Chastain issue on the track.

“The drivers have to settle that. Whatever I say to the owners or NASCAR, NASCAR wants to get in it,” Hendrick said. “They did with Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt when he was going through all that, and they put a stop to it.”

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Duane Schacht

But it’s ok for Larson to dump anyone in his path! Fucking hypocrites

Echo

Hey Rick, have the #48 take him out the first chance he gets every race. Even if you have to get lapped in the first 3 laps. Take him out, and again, etc. Someone will listen.

C6RRACER

Yes,yes,yes….great idea ! I like it.

WJW Motorsports

Nah – no reason to mess up your own stuff. Rick just needs to put HendrickCars on all of the Rick Ware entries for a race – and they have but one job for the day.

Dawg

I’m still trying to process & understand this.

Apparently, Hendrick is much more bothered by Larson getting wrecked by Chastain, who was pushing as hard as he had to trying for the win, even when it didn’t cost him a win. Just changed the winner. Had they not wrecked it’s not settled who would have gotten the win. This was as much a factor of NASCAR’s unlimited checkers or wreckers finishes, & win & your in.
This wasn’t all that much different from Larson wrecking John Hunter in the Xfinity race, just hard racing.

Than he was by Larson getting wrecked on purpose by Hamlin, which did cost him a win.

The way both Larson & Byron are currently running, the only for anyone having a chance to beat them is by running a 100 %. Running at that level leaves no margin for error. Yes Chastain made a mistake, but so did Truex, who did the same thing to Logano.

If we want hard racing, these mistakes will keep happening. Especially as the races wind down with many teams still needing to punch their playoff tickets.

Vetteboy72

It seems Mr. Hendrick has some selective vision. Did he have a problem when Larson wrecked Nemecheck for the win the day before? Or that Larson obviously walled Chastain on the previous restart? Chastain had a huge lapse of judgement on the last restart and it cost him big time being that Larson is already in the show, but there is also a double standard at play here. Didn’t Truex run into Chastain earlier? Had to be Chastain’s fault. It seems so easy to make him the scapegoat but there are plenty of other boneheads out there. And for the record, I’m a Larson and Chastain fan.

Cheers

John

Some one–anyone–needs to dump Chastain for about the next ten races.

CHIEF

Ahhhh ! New rules change coming – Anytime you’re going to pass one of hendricknascars golden boys, you’ll have to ask your spotter to get explicit permission from the tower to do so. Then “toot” your horn gently and proceed cautiously. Also – if one of hendricknascars golden boys are approaching you from behind, you’ll have to pull down on the apron and let them pass without disrupting their aeroflow.

DoninAjax

Some drivers believe that already!