Denny Hamlin Calls Out Ross Chastain’s “Chicken Sh*t” Persona as Trackhouse Racing’s Lacking Potential Becomes More Apparent

Published 09/27/2023, 7:31 AM EDT

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Ross Chastain’s season has been far from a bed of roses this year. Clawing his way into the playoffs with a single victory, his journey in the last 14 races of the regular season was a bumpy ride, managing to finish in the top 5 only once. Although he has already doubled that tally during the playoffs with two top-5 finishes, including a P2 finish in last Sunday’s Round of 12 opener at the Texas Motor Speedway, it’s crystal clear that his car still thirsts for speed.

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The notion was recently echoed by Denny Hamlin. On his podcast, No. 11 didn’t mince his words, straightforwardly calling out Chastain’s adversary. Instead, the No. 11 stated that the Trackhouse Racing team is striving to seize the day, whereas Chastain’s driving is not hitting the high notes as expected. The team is pulling out all the stops, but Chastain’s performance behind the wheel is leaving much to be desired, reflecting the struggle to keep pace on the tracks.

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Despite Chastain’s #1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet showing formidable speed throughout the race and commencing from a favorable P5, his journey was anything but smooth. After securing the eighth position in Stage 2, a pit road stall bumped him, thrusting him into rough waters as his crew grappled with a throttle position sensor issue.

Yet Ross Chastain later skillfully used caution to bounce back, finishing stronger in P2. Despite this recovery, Denny Hamlin’s critique seems to be sharp and unyielding. Denny suggests that the Trackhouse Racing team is striving to make the most of their situation without the needed speed, and spared no effort in criticizing Chastain for not hitting the mark on the race track.

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He said, “Chastain- Man! The dude just keeps making chicken salad or chicken sh*t most weeks. I mean, he does. I am not saying his car is chicken sh*t, like they are optimizing their day.” Hamlin also took a jab at the team for utilizing cautions to rectify Chastain’s car issues, casting doubt on the strategy’s sustainability: “They took cautions to do it. So, are you always going to get those cautions at the end to salvage your day?”

Ross Chastain himself couldn’t hide his discontent post-race, feeling the palpable potential for his car to have delivered more, a sentiment evident in his interviews despite a top-5 race finish in Texas.

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Ross Chastain’s agitation was palpable, grappling with his car’s mechanical gremlins

Although Ross Chastain acknowledged the car’s initial burst of speed, it mysteriously fizzled out mid-race, throwing a wrench in the works for the No. 1 driver. As per racereviewonline.net, sharing his woes during a post-race interview, the No. 1 Chevy recounted, “It was terrible. You push the gas, and it ain’t got no gas. I noticed something on a few cautions, like having the car off in third gear, clutching, dropped the clutch with the ignition on, and it kind of stumbled, but I thought I just had it too low of RPM.”

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The 30-year-old’s pit stop brought no relief, as he exclaimed, “That pit stop is when it had already failed, and it wouldn’t go. I’m part throttle to get it fired, and it doesn’t think I’m doing anything.”

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However, JJ Yeley’s late-race misfortune in Turn 2, with only 25 laps remaining, threw a curveball, leaving teams in a dilemma. The pit was an option for some, while others opted out. Chastain, too, chose to roll the dice and abstain.

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And indeed, his gamble paid off, and Ross Chastain exited Texas +12 in the rankings, setting his sights on Talladega, the venue of his first career triumph last spring. Now, with Talladega’s challenge on the horizon, it will be riveting to see if he can pull a rabbit out of the hat, clinch a victory, and climb to the top-8.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer for EssentiallySports. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her readers distinguishes her as a sports journalist. Neha's articles strike a nice balance between technical accuracy and story-telling.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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