Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson crashed in the closing laps at Darlington Raceway in the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, costing both their chance to finish in first place.
Chastain led 93 of the race’s 295 laps and was just ahead of Larson in the final stage when he drove around the track and moved up to the No. 5. Chastain finished on his side and Larson perpendicular to him. Chastain had to be towed to the garage, while a damaged Larson was able to finish.
Larson finished 20th and Chastain dropped to 29th.
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Rick Hendrick, the legendary owner of the team Larson drives for, appeared to be upset with Chastain’s racing style. Chastain has drawn the ire of many drivers over the course of the 2023 season.
«I don’t care if he drives a Chevrolet if he wrecks our cars,» Hendrick said, via NBC Sports. «I don’t care. I’ve told Chevrolet that. If you screw us, you’ll get it back. If you don’t, you’ll get run over. I’m loyal to Chevrolet.» , but when someone runs us over, then I expect my boys to hold their ground. I’m not going to ask them to give up just for Chevrolet.»
Hendrick said Chastain doesn’t have to be so aggressive.
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«I guess at this point in the career maybe you’re super aggressive, but you just don’t get people over the fence. You’re going to make a lot of enemies. It’s hard to win a championship when you have a lot of rewards out there.»
Hendrick added that he believed Chastain’s tactics were getting «old» for some pilots.
Chastain said afterward that he wanted to squeeze Larson but didn’t want to screw him up.
«We’re all going into the race and I got fully engaged in (turn) one and I wanted to push it, I didn’t want to roll over for sure,» Chastain said. «This is not how I wanted to be talking to you here.»
Last weekend at Kansas, Noah Gragson’s frustrations with Chastain boiled over and he confronted him after the race. Chastain punched Gragson before officers broke up the fight.
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The crash allowed William Byron to take and hold the lead for the win.
Associated Press contributed to this report.