“Looks like we were just a casualty of Ross Chastain, once again.”
On Sunday, NASCAR took the green flag in Atlanta, Georgia. The 1.54-mile oval of Atlanta Motor Speedway is now a Superspeedway race due to the rules package.
Watch the video of the Atlanta NASCAR crash below.
The horsepower is down. At the same time, the downforce is up significantly via a taller rear spoiler.
The rules package is designed to create pack racing. It’s a new style of racing for an intermediate track. And we’ve seen side-by-side racing all day long at the front of the field.
As expected, on lap 91, we saw a huge multi-car crash at a result.
Martin Truex Jr was riding in second. Dirty air can create moments were the car handles horribly. As that happened to Truex Jr, he lifted to try and save the car.
Meanwhile, Ross Chastain was all over his rear bumper. Chastain attempted to lift but he didn’t lift enough. The slightest contact from Chastain to the bumper of Truex Jr finished him off.
Truex Jr spun around in front of the field. He collected Chastain, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and others.
Recently, Ross Chastain was under fire from his fellow drivers after causing crashes with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott at WWT Raceway. After the race, he took blame for both incidents and stated that he needed to manage his own aggression.
Later in the race at Atlanta, Chastain angered Aric Almirola. He then spun Denny Hamlin, adding more fuel to that fire.
Austin Dillon comments
“Actually, the hits weren’t that bad,” Austin Dillon told NBC after exiting the care center.
“My belt got me pretty good there near the groin. Looks like we were just a casualty of Ross Chastain, once again.”
“I told myself we were going to race hard all day. It wasn’t one of those things were I wanted to ride in the back and be there at the end.”
“But, when you got guys out there like him, wrecking half the field. You might as well take a different strategy, sometimes.”
“It’s a lot of fun, the racing. The cars are hard to drive and you gotta make them drive better when it’s hot like this.”
Dillon added, “We were making some headway, then got caught in the wreck.”
Chastain continues and angers Aric Almirola
Chastain’s crew has repaired the No. 1 car. As the race continues, Chastain is back on the lead lap with tape covering his front nose.
Truex Jr also remains in the race.
In stage two, Aric Almirola was frustrated with Chastain. He was vocal on the radio, adding to the lost of drivers frustrated with the driver of the No. 1 car.
Almirola stated over the radio, “He’s an idiot. He better hope I don’t see him at Food Lion.”
Ross Chastain turns Denny Hamlin, again
As mentioned, Hamlin and Chastain have recent history of on-track accidents. More pages were added to that book at Atlanta.
With 15 laps to, Chastain got tight on the inside lane. As he pushed up the track, he clipped the left rear of Hamlin. Hamlin spun off turn four.
Chastain stated over the radio after contact with Hamlin, “I should have lifted more. My fault.”
Hamlin’s crew told their driver, “Yeah, he just came up the hill and wrecked you both. I can’t tell you more without looking at traces and studying for an hour. The bottom line is, no lesson learned he just came up the hill and wrecked ya.”
Ross Chastain comments after Atlanta
Despite all the incidents, Chastain drove a 2nd place effort. He was alongside the race leader as the caution came out on the final lap.
“I took the best car here and I tore it up a couple times,” Chastain stated.
“We had a shot. I got inside of the No. 9 coming off turn two and the caution came out. Hope everybody’s alright back there. Awesome job by Corey LaJoie and Spire Motorsports. I really thought I was going to push him to the win.”
Chastain is in his first year with Trackhouse Racing. The team expanded to a two-car operation after purchasing Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of last year.
The 29-year-old has two NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2022. He’s already locked into the playoffs and has collected nine top-5s already.
Denny Hamlin comments after getting turned by Chastain at Atlanta
Meanwhile, Hamlin had a horrible day. He was hooked by Christopher Bell shortly after the incident with Chastain.
“It all works out in the end,” Hamlin said of where things go with Chastain from here.
“I said my piece the first time around. And, you know, nothing has really changed this time.”
“I made sure I gave him plenty of room. I think that Ross saw that we were going to clear. Yeah, just bad day for us.”
“Things just work themselves out, in the end. We certainly aren’t cutting any breaks, going forward.”
Hamlin added, “As a driver, you make decisions. Eventually, you gotta pay for those decisions. Whatever happens in the future, happens. We’re going to be racing each other pretty hard here, for the rest of the year.”
Hamlin also has 2 race wins this year. He’s already qualified for the playoffs, along with Chastain.