After Darlington, Ross Chastain had a lot of explaining to do. He talked with Rick Hendrick, Kyle Larson, and even more this week. Having to smooth things over after wrecking a few expensive race cars is never fun. The NASCAR driver seems to have talked things out though and is ready to move on.
The big news came when Justin Marks announced he was going to address some of Ross Chastain’s driving. So you knew he had some stuff to answer for.
At North Wilkesboro after the CARS Tour race was over, Chastain opened up a bit about his conversations this week.
“Talked with Chevy, with GM,” Chastain said, via Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. “I’ve talked to Rick [Hendrick], I’ve talked with Justin [Marks], obviously. I’ve talked with Kyle [Larson], I’ve talked with a lot of people and I feel really good with where we’re at. But I will keep those conversations [private].”
“I called Rick,” Chastain replied when asked who called who. “That was not the reason I want to be calling him but it’s not the first time we’ve talked and I don’t think it will be the last. One day I hope I’m able to laugh with him about it. Look it’s still crazy to me that Rick Hendrick knows my name. Now right now it’s for the wrong reasons but seriously, he knew my name before. We talked about other things other than just Darlington and he had some really good life advice.
“A guy like that, that he would take my call and talk to me, like I said, it’s not the first time but it’s still surreal to me. I was a kid that never ran a late model as nice as Pinnnacle’s here. So to have Rick Hendrick know my name is absolutely amazing.”
What can Ross Chastain do differently?
There is a lot of great stuff that Ross Chastain has done in the last year and a half. He took to this Next Gen car really well, but he has to try and control himself now. Has his aggressive driving earned him two wins? Yes. Has that same driving given him 20 top-5s before anyone else in this new car? Absolutely!
That aggression has also put a target on his back that he can’t ignore anymore. It sucks to say it, but Rick Hendrick can throw his weight around. Especially when you’re a Chevy driver. Sounds like the manufacturer wants to see their drivers get along more on the track and wreck each other less.
Ross Chastain has had to apologize more than most. He had to fight Noah Gragson after the Kansas race, although he didn’t really deserve it for the Kansas stuff. The point is, things have gotten out of control. Whether it is a reality of Chastain’s driving, the reputation he has gotten, or a combination of both.
Still looking for that win in 2023, perhaps Chastain can reel in his antics and still perform at the level he has been. Denny Hamlin thinks he should have more wins than he has and it is because of his driving style that he doesn’t.
Are we going to see a new Ross Chastain? I’m not going to hold my breath.