Drama unfolded as the NASCAR Cup Series visited St. Louis for the first time
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series made their debut in the St. Louis ares. The 1.250-mile of WWT Raceway at Gateway brought the drama.
Watch Ross Chastain vs Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott video below.
On lap 65, Ross Chastain put the bumper to Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was shoved out of line and into the outside wall.
The incident drew a caution. Hamlin remained on the track but he was well off the pace.
“The No. 11 is waiting on Ross Chastain. Here we go,” Kenny Wallace stated from the Fox TV booth.
As they went back green, Hamlin was well off the pace. He had nothing to do but ruin Chastain’s day. And he tried on lap 81, Hamlin ran 5th place runner Chastain all the way to the apron into turn three as Hamlin was 4 laps down.
Denny Hamlin’s crew jumped on the radio, “The tower just said, ‘They think you made your point.’ “
Hamlin laughed and responded, “You’re right.”
On lap 94, Ross Chastain was back on the bumper of Hamlin. This time, Hamlin moved right in front of him to stall his progress, significantly.
Just a few laps later, Ryan Blaney caught a flat tire and brought a restart. Ross Chastain hit the pit lane and restarted at the back.
Add Chase Elliott
On the lap 100 restart, Chastain ran three wide with Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon. It resulted in Chase Elliott getting spun off turn four.
Elliott avoided major damage. Now, two drivers were highly aggravated with Chastain. And, on the restart, Chastain restarted between Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.
As the green dropped, Chase Elliott put the bumper to Ross Chastain immediately. Chastain ran high and out of the grove. As Chastain collected it, Hamlin also made it difficult on him.
On lap 108, Hamlin still wasn’t done. He weaved back and forth across the front stretch in an attempt to keep Chastain behind him. Hamlin added to the headache by dropping brake checks in the middle of the corner. Meanwhile, the rest of the field drove away.
After the race, Chastain owned both mistakes…
St. Louis Race Results: June 5, 2022 (NASCAR Cup Series)
Ross Chastain comments
“Just terrible driving,” Ross Chastain told Fox Sports after the race.
“I just, it’s one thing to do it once. But, I just kept driving into guys.”
“At this level, I’m suppose to be better than that. It’s a shame, I have all these people believing in me. Justin Marks and Pitbull put me in this car. They deserve better.”
Chastain hinted he would talk to Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain.
“I owe half the field an apology. Words aren’t going to fix it. So, I’ll have to pay for it on the track and almost did today. I deserve everything that they do.”
Chastain concluded, “I can’t believe that I continue to make the same mistakes. Over drive the corners and drive into guys. I had time under caution to get reset. We go green, and I drive into somebody, terrible.”
Chastain added to Bob Pockrass, “For him (Hamlin), the No. 9, the No. 34 and so many guys, I was off today. Running into people is not acceptable at this level.
“I did so many mistakes, back to back. It’s one thing, for just one. But, I absolutely drove over my head today.”
“Definitely with Chase, I over drove turn three and slid my left front getting in. That’s not an excuse by any means. I completely blew the corner.”
“Terrible driving on my part. Like, I should not be in this car if I’m going to do that.”
Denny Hamlin comments
“Yeah, it’s good he takes responsibility,” Hamlin stated after the race.
“But ultimately, it ruined our day. We were racing hard there for awhile. He tried to keep sliding up in front of us but wasn’t able to cause I was willing to just back off and let him slide up in front.”
“It didn’t take long after he tucked in behind us. He wrecked us.”
“The unfortunate part is that he didn’t get too shy after that. Because I think he got the No. 9 after that one.”
Hamlin added, “We’ve all learned the hard way. And, we’ve all had it come back around on us, it will be no different.”
Hamlin added to Bob Pockrass, “He got inside of us and he kept trying to slide us, we would wash up the track, right into the door, three laps in a row. Finally, he just tucked in behind us and ran into the back of us.”
Hamlin played with Chastain from that point forward.
“I made it more difficult. But, we had a miserable day. We went from running up front to limping a car 8 laps down, or whatever we were.”
“You’re just going to have to way the odds of when’s the right time for them to get the message.”
Hamlin hinted that he’s not done with Chastain
“You gotta do more than that. There are no warnings.”
“Obviously, he wasn’t shy after our contact. It seems like there’s no sense of conscious there that says, ‘Maybe, I’m going a bit aggressive.’ “
“But, that’s his decision to make. He can make any decision he wants to. He’s his own guy and he’s been very successful doing what he’s doing.”
“But ultimately, the sport is self-policing. Usually, when you least expect it and it means the most is when it comes back around.”
Hamlin added, “Gotta just fence these guys, hard. Just to kinda, get there attention.”
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Ross Chastain | Denny Hamlin | Chase Elliott | WWT Raceway | NASCAR