NASCAR’s AJ Allmendinger Addresses Run-in With Ross Chastain at End of 2022 Circuit of the Americas

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

After capturing a victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at COTA, AJ Allmendinger hoped to sweep the weekend with a win in the Cup Series. Though Allmendinger only led two laps in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, the end of the race looked extremely promising for the Kaulig Racing driver.

After several mishaps and nine cautions, the race went into overtime with Ross Chastain in the lead. In an excruciatingly tense final lap at COTA, Chastain and AJ Allmendinger were battling for first position when Alex Bowman cruised along beside them.

Then, just as it appeared Allmendinger would edge in front of Ross Chastain for the lead, Ross bumped the No. 16 NASCAR driver into Alex Bowman. The nudge caused Allmendinger to spin out, sending him all the way back to a finish in 33rd position.

Unsurprisingly, AJ Allmendinger was…less than pleased about the finish, to say the least. In his post-race interview, he threw some serious shade Ross Chastain’s way.

“I mean, at the end of the day, we all gotta look at ourselves in the mirror and be okay with it,” Allmendinger said. “Each person’s different, so… More than anything, I’m proud of Kaulig Racing. The Chevy was so fast, I think if we could have had just a long run, nobody was gonna touch us.”

“We know we had a shot to win the race,” Allmendinger concluded. “It’s tough to win a Cup race, so when you put yourself in a position to legitimately run up front all day and have a shot to win it, it’s a pretty great day. Unfortunately, we needed about two more corners.”

NASCAR Driver Alex Bowman Reacts to Final Moments at COTA With AJ Allmendinger and Ross Chastain

Though Alex Bowman certainly wasn’t happy to come so close to victory at COTA only to lose in the final moments, he doesn’t hold nearly at much animosity toward the champ. At least not outwardly.

When asked how he felt about the aggressive move from Ross Chastain in the last stretch of the race, Bowman said he’s done the same. “I’ve been on the other side of it,” Bowman said. “So I have to live with it, right? Talk about Martinsville, I had to live with that. Best advice I have for Ross on that is, put it on a t-shirt and sell the hell out of it.”

In a second interview, Alex Bowman expressed his happiness for his fellow driver and his first-ever Cup Series win. “I’ve really been trying to do a better job as a race car driver at these road courses and I felt like, from where we started the weekend, I accomplished that. I’m proud of Greg and all the guys. I hate that we didn’t come away with a win, but I’m happy for Ross getting his first win.”