While Ross Chastain felt he did nothing but give his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, the preferred lane, the other Busch, Kyle, was displeased with how the end of the Quaker State 400 played out.
Kurt Busch scored the win after overtaking Kyle Busch with 23 laps to go. The older Busch was able to close the gap when Chastain gave up the bottom lane, moving up right in front of Kyle. The move stalled Kyle Busch’s run and momentum, and Kurt Busch got to his inside and then cleared him for the lead.
“Kurt asked for the bottom, so I gave him that lane,” Chastain said. “I was racing to stay on the lead lap. I’m very aware of what’s going on on the track around me. Kurt asked for the bottom, and I gave it to him.”
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Kyle Busch felt differently, saying he worked his stuff too hard when getting behind Chastain. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won the first stage and led 91 laps and was in the lead late, having leapfrogged his brother by pitting one lap earlier. Kyle Busch was managing his lead until coming across Chastain.
“He turned dead right in order to get right in front of me,” Busch said of Chastain slowing him intentionally.
Kyle Busch felt it would have been “a hell of a lot better race” between him and his brother had Chastain not moved in front of him. The two drivers were the class of the field at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning a stage each and combining to lead 235 of the race’s 260 laps.
“It’s racing, man; you can do whatever the hell you want,” Busch said. “It’s just going to come back on you.”
Chastain finished 21st, one lap down. And understanding Busch’s frustration, Chastain said Busch could come to talk to him if needed.
“He lost the race; he’s going to be mad,” Chastain said. “I’m mad I finished (21st) a lap down with a teammate winning. That’s not what I want either. … He wanted to win, and I wanted to run better.”