Race Weekend Central

William Byron Apologetic After Last-Lap Contact with Ross Chastain

FORT WORTH, Texas — Could there be a new rivalry brewing between William Byron and Ross Chastain?

On the final restart of Sunday’s (April 14) AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400, coming in double overtime at Texas Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott and Chastain restarted on the front row and ran side-by-side for three-quarters of the penultimate lap before Elliott pulled away for the win.

Meanwhile, Chastain had to fight hard in order to keep second, with Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Byron hot on his heels. Exiting turn 2 on the final lap, Byron got in the back of Chastain, turning the Worldwide Express Chevrolet into the wall.

See also
Chase Elliott Snaps 42-Race Winless Streak, Wins in Texas

Brad Keselowski swept underneath the wreck to finish second. Byron ended up third. Chastain was forced to settle for a disappointing 32nd-place finish.

Afterward, Byron was apologetic.

“I was there, and I had a run; it’s the last lap,” Byron said. “I don’t want to do that to [Chastain], but unfortunately, we came together there.”

For Byron, the incident on the last lap overshadowed his race. Take away the incident and Sunday was actually a really good race for him. While Byron did not lead a lap, his average running position was ninth for the entire race.

Unfortunately, Byron only scored two stage points all day with the varying pit strategies in play. As a result, he remains fifth in points.

For Chastain, he was having a different kind of day, yet quite similar. He led 33 laps and won stage two, scoring 10 stage points and a playoff point. He slowly worked his way up the order and into contention late but it was nearly all for naught. The 32nd-place finish dropped Chastain down to 11th in points.

The contact from Byron resulted in Chastain being the fourth driver to crash out of second in Sunday’s race. Prior to the final lap, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin had all crashed in that same position. Chastain was the only one of the four to crash on the backstretch. The other three wrecks had all occurred in turn 4.

See also
Denny Hamlin Wipes Out with Texas Win in Sight

Chastain was reportedly very upset after the crash. He did not comment to anyone about the crash before leaving the track.

Chastain’s team, Trackhouse Racing, was rather succinct with how it felt.

Despite the sadness from the Trackhouse camp, Chastain showed a lot of strength Sunday. However, with the sheer number of cautions reducing the number of cars off of the lead lap (Ryan Blaney was the only car running not on the lead lap), he ended up with next to nothing to show for his work. Still, Trackhouse will have some positive information to take away for future intermediate races.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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DoninAjax

Byron did nothing to apologize for. Chastain got loose off the corner and blocked Byron who had a run on him. If the positions were reversed, Chastain would have done the same thing.

wildcatsfan2016

hmmm I didn’t see that incident as anything Byron needed to apologize for. Chastain was loose and tried a block. It didn’t work out. Chastain has done his fair share of wrecking others in similar circumstances.

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