Hear from the drivers after they crash for the race win at Circuit of the Americas
On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR rolled into Austin, Texas. The Circuit of the Americas hosted the first road course race featuring the Next Gen car.
Watch the COTA final laps video below.
In the closing laps of the race, multiple cautions sent the race into NASCAR Overtime. A 2 lap shootout would decide the race winner.
As they dropped the green, Tyler Reddick led the field into turn one. Quickly, Ross Chastain worked to his outside just as AJ Allmendinger worked to his inside. They ran three wide for the lead off the corner.
Heading into turn two, Chastain leaned on the bumper of Reddick and returned to the race lead. However, as they took the white flag, Allmendinger had worked his way to 2nd. Chastain led by just 6 car lengths.
Heading into turn 12 for the final time, Allmendinger closed right to the rear bumper of Chastain under braking. Into turn 15, Chastain threw a huge block on Allmendinger. Allmendinger pushed him through the corner and Allmendinger took the race lead.
Into turn 16, Chastain leaned on the bumper of Allmendinger. As they both gathered it up, Alex Bowman drove to the race lead.
Heading into turn 19, Chastain was still on the rear bumper of Allmendinger. This time, he shoves him hard into the corner. Allmendinger nearly spun as he was shoved into Bowman. Allmendinger and Bowman both ran wide off the corner.
Ross Chastain took over the lead in the second to last corner. He drove to his first career race win with a knockout and he cracked open the watermelon.
Ross Chastain comments
Ross Chastain grabbed his first career win. He hugged team owner Justin Marks just seconds after climbing from his machine.
“That insane, to go up against some of the best, with AJ,” Ross Chastain told Fox Sports as he stood on broken watermelon pieces.
“I mean, I know he’s going to be upset with me. But, we raced hard, both of us. And he owes me one.”
“But, when it comes to a Cup win, I can’t let that go down without a fight. I don’t know how we got back by. I was so worried about AJ on the second to last restart that I let Tyler drive right by both of us. AJ was so good, I’ve learned so much from him.”
“It’s like, ‘How do you go beat the guy? He’s taught me so much.’ “
“My dad used to make me race on old tires. Back then, if I raced on old tires, I was not going to win. It was in my head, before I even started. It crossed my mind, with us on old tires. But, I couldn’t think that way.”
Chastain concluded, “We did it.”
The race winner later added, “I didn’t draw it that way in my head. But yeah, I did what I did. I stand by it.”
Justin Marks: Trackhouse Racing Team Owner
“I struggled to find what’s too much,” Justin Marks comments.
“Today was not different than I’ve seen so many of these races end. They’re so hard to win. And it’s just sort of, the way people think about racing each other and attacking the race track, it changes throughout the race.”
“These races almost always have late race restarts. And, there’s so much on the line. You just get to a point where it’s like, ‘Who wants it the most?’ “
“NASCAR has proven over the last four decades, they’re just going to let these races play out and let it self-police. These guys all wanted it. There’s always contact at the end of these races.”
“I’m honestly saying, today is just not that much different than what we see on a lot of these green-white-checkered finishes at these race tracks.”
Marks concluded, “And, Ross got beat up a little bit today too. I want to make sure people remember, Ross got used up a couple times today. When the money’s on the line and a playoff spot’s on the table, you do what you gotta do.”
Alex Bowman comments
“We had a really fast Ally Camaro,” Alex Bowman stated from the pit lane after the race.
“I’ve really been trying to do a better job as a race car driver at these road course races. I felt like from where we started the weekend, I accomplished that. So, proud of Greg and all the guys.”
“Hate that we didn’t come away with the win. But, happy for Ross getting his first win.”
Bowman concluded, “It’s been a crap weekend. So, I’m ready to get home and see the dogs. But, happy to come away with a 2nd place finish.”
Later, Bowman detailed when speaking to Bob Pockrass, “I’ve been on the the other side of it. So, I have to live with it. Talk about Martinsville, I had to live with that.”
Bowman added, “The best advice I have for Ross on that is to put it on a t-shirt and sell the hell out of it.”
AJ Allmendinger comments
“At the end of the day, we all gotta look at ourselves in the mirror. If you’re ok with it, you’re ok with it. Each person’s different,” AJ Allmendinger stated.
“I think if we could have had a long run, nobody was going to touch us. I was doing everything I could to sweep the weekend for Kaulig Racing. We were that close.”
“At the end of the day, each person’s gotta make the move that they’re comfortable with. That’s fine. We know we had a shot to win the race. It’s tough to win a Cup race. So, when you put yourself in a position to win, it’s a pretty great day.”
Allmendinger concluded, “Unfortunately, we needed about two more corners.”