NASCAR: Here’s Why Criticism Over Ross Chastain’s Recent COTA Win Is Undeserved

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was a big weekend at COTA for NASCAR driver Ross Chastain. The 29-year-old from Florida took home his first victory on Sunday afternoon– the first in Chastain’s young career in the NASCAR Cup Series. However, the way in which Chastain won the race has come under intense scrutiny this week. Everyone from fans to media to other NASCAR drivers has an opinion on what went down late in the race at COTA on Sunday.

What Happened with NASCAR Driver Ross Chastain

Chastain won the race on Sunday. He finished in the top-5 in the previous three races. It was a great moment for him and his team. However, AJ Allmendinger and his team did not see it that way. Allmendinger finished 33rd on the afternoon after what happened late with Chastain. It also had to do with Alex Bowman, who pushed for the lead late. He came up on the outside which pushed Chastain and Allmendinger next to each other on the inside. They bumped cars. Bowman avoided disaster, but Allmendinger did not and Chastain made it through for the victory.

Had Bowman’s car not been there, Allmendinger would likely not have fallen off like he did late. The race could have gone completely differently. At least, Kaulig Racing seems to think so.

Of course, anything can happen in a race. But it certainly looks like the criticism being thrown toward Chastain could be more accurately directed elsewhere.

Chastain Speaks on Race-Ending Circumstances

Chastain did an interview with The Athletic where opened up about a multitude of things. One of the things he was asked about was how he would react if someone wrecked him to win a race.

He said, “Well, that was the question. I answered the question. (Laughs). Every situation is different. Usually, if I realize I’ve lost because of contact, then it’s instant anger. That’s human nature. But it’s usually right after that incident where the next incident is realizing, “OK, I probably deserved it.” I received what I gave, and I’m fine with it.”

It was a thoughtful answer from Chastain. He is about you reap what you sow in a sense. It’s a very interesting outlook for the young driver to have.

He concluded, “I don’t get on the radio and yell and scream and say “I need them to move out of the way” or anything. Or “Why did he do that?” I love it when drivers say, “Tell his spotter…” Like, come on. We’re better than that. Just handle it yourself. And that’s probably come from the times when I wasn’t racing as much and just watching. I’d just try to watch and listen to guys’ radios. I would handle it at some point. But not in celebration.”

He liked to watch and listen. Chastain thinks about how he wants to address the situation. He keeps a level head on his shoulders.