Ross Chastain had a bad day at the track Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway, leaving him feeling like he owed an apology to many of his competitors.
“It’s unacceptable,” Chastain said of his day.
The chain of events started on lap 65 when Chastain tagged Denny Hamlin going into Turn 1. The contact shot Hamlin up the track and into the outside wall. The incident severely damaged Hamlin’s car and took him out of contention for a solid result but didn’t end his day.
Instead, Hamlin spent much of the afternoon making life hard for Chastain when the Trackhouse Racing driver was near. Hamlin ran Chastain down to the backstretch apron at one point, sending dust flying as Chastain made his way around the No. 11 and back onto the racing surface.
On lap 102, Chastain tagged Chase Elliott off Turn 4 as they raced three-wide with Austin Dillon. Chastain was in the middle with Elliott on the outside and the contact sent the No. 9 for a spin. Fortunately, Elliott avoided significant damage, but he, too, was also upset with Chastain and let him know it on the ensuing restart.
Elliott not only pushed Chastain into Turn 1 but then knocked him out of the way. Chastain kept his car off the wall, but then Hamlin came by and swerved at him.
“It’s completely unacceptable that I did that,” Chastain said. “For [Hamlin] the No. 9 [Elliott], the No. 34 [Michael McDowell]; so many guys. I just was way off on my driving today and running into people is not acceptable at this level.
“I cannot believe, standing here right now, that I just [made] so many mistakes back-to-back. It’s one thing for one [mistake], but I absolutely drove over my head today.”
He said the contact with Elliott was certainly a mistake.
“I overdrove [Turn 3] and slid my left front getting [into the corner],” he said. “That’s not an excuse by any means. I just completely blew the corner and then I got in the middle of three [wide], and I should not have been there.
“That’s just terrible driving on my part. I should not be in this car if I’m going to do that.”
Once all the dust settled, Chastain finished eighth in the inaugural Cup Series race at WWTR.
Asked if there was a reason for him having a difficult day, such as it being the car or a new racetrack, he replied, “That was Ross Chastain.”