Both drivers took blame but Ross Chastain said Christopher Bell got emotional with his discisions ahead of the NASCAR crash
Last week, the NASCAR Cup Series raced in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick claimed his first win of the season via Michigan International Speedway after the top 4 were wipped out in a number of 2 laps.
With 57 laps to go, Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell were in a battle for the lead. Yet, a green flag pit stop was pending.
With 44 to go, race leader Daniel Suarez and teammate Ross Chastain hit the pit lane under green. Chastain re-entered the track with fresher tires and beat Suarez to the pit exit. Chastain closed quickly on Christopher Bell as he re-entered the track a lap down to the 2nd place car.
Ross Chastain vs Christopher Bell
42 to go, all hell broke loose. Bell drove inside of Chastain as he got up to speed into turn three.
Off turn four, Chastain worked to the outside of Bell. However, Bell shut the door and turned himself into the outside wall.
The incident brought out the caution. It essentially ended all chances for both Chastain and teammate Suarez as they both needed the green flag pit cycle to go through without a caution.
“Uh, I think it’s killed,” Bell stated over the team radio seconds after the crash.
As the caution was displayed, the rest of the leaders hit the pit lane. Chastain and Suarez were out of the battle. Denny Hamlin added his name to that list as he was handed a penalty on the pit stop after pitting from the lead.
Ross Chastain’s driving style has been highly criticized by his fellow drivers and even himself. The most notable includes mutliple incidents with Denny Hamlin, of which say a reatalliation as recently as Pocono.
And a week later, the two NASCAR drivers added more context to the contact…
Christopher Bell comments
“I made a mistake on being clear vs not being clear,” Christopher Bell stated a week later on Saturday at Richmond.
“With that being said, “I’ve been put in that exact same position, on the flip-side, maybe 30, 40, 50 times this year. You know, I’ve lifted.”
“So, I made a mistake. But, he had an option to lift and cut us both a break, he didn’t.”
Ross Chastain was on fresher tires and much faster than Bell.
“I was well aware of that. We were racing for the win. If I was going to win the race, I was going to have to beat him. So, I was trying to make his life harder.”
Bell was asked if the move was made knowing it’s Ross Chastain.
“Absolutely, this sport is a game of respect. And, I try to race people how they race me.”
Bell noted that the spotter wasn’t the issue.
“Everything happened so fast that it was all on me.”
“At that moment, we were racing for the win. I felt like it was going to help my case, to win, to slow him up. If we’re racing in the Playoffs and I have to be more mindful of the points, obvisouly my thoughts are different.”
Bell added, “But, in that situation, it was essentially win or bust. I thought that was going to help me win the race.”
Ross Chastain comments
“It looked like I was driving his car,” Ross Chastain joked of the situation to Bob Pockrass.
“He’s blocking all over the place. He just made one too many blocks and I was on his right rear.”
Chastain was told that Bell stated he might have raced someone other than Chastain differently.
“He got emotional,” Chastain added.
“If I just would have lifted, we would have been better, for me, Daniel and Christopher. There’s really no circumstances were we needed a caution right there. So, when he gave me the option to crash, I should have lifted.”
Chastain added, “I just thought I had a lane to his right. I should have pushed him, instead of getting to his right rear.”