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Denny Hamlin Warns Ross Chastain Against Starting a Beef With Bulky NASCAR Driver

Published 06/08/2023, 11:26 AM EDT

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Ross Chastain finds himself under the microscope again. Last weekend’s Cup race at the World Wide Technology Raceway was witness to some more contact from Chastain at the stage 2 restart. The Trackhouse Racing Team driver’s latest victim is Michael McDowell.

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After Chastain made contact with the #34 Ford Mustang at the Stage 2 restart, McDowell and the Front Row Motorsports crew were justifiably furious. Later, Hamlin shared his take on the incident. Incidentally, Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin were involved in a protracted battle last year at the very same venue. But Hamlin has refrained from taking blind digs at Chastain.

Racing deal for sure: Denny Hamlin on McDowell’s spin at Gateway


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The grid and some factions in the sport have massively villainized Chastain, but not without reason. However, this also means that sometimes, he is held accountable despite not being at fault. This wasn’t the case this time as he did make contact with an unsuspecting Michael McDowell, who announced on the radio, “I believe what they term these days is getting Chastain-ed.” Denny Hamlin reacted to the incident while talking to his co-host Jarred Allen on the popular podcast, Actions Detrimental.

The JGR driver said, I mean, listen! Of all people on the pit road, I’ve said multiple times, the person I’d least like to be in a scuffle with is Michael McDowell for sheer size and you know when he put Suarez in the hood of his car. Like he’s probably got some country strong to him.” However, Hamlin defended Chastain, calling the contact inevitable in the circumstances.


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He added, “But yeah, you know, I looked at the wreck. I guess you could definitely label it as a racing deal for sure. I mean I think that Chastain made a three-wide move into turn 1. Contact is inevitable at that point.

“So the #34 car, while he did not give the #1 a lot of room, he had no choice. It’s either … he either goes up and makes contact with Joey [Logano] who’s on the three-wide on the outside to give Chastain room or he just pinches Chastain and says you really should be lifting here.”

It was surprising to see Hamlin come to the defense of Chastain, especially considering their history.


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A walkthrough of McDowell’s contact with Ross Chastain

Spinning off like he did must have really hurt Michael McDowell. He was at P29 in Stage 2, and it didn’t appear like things were going great. McDowell only used two tires as they entered the pits following Stage 1. At the restart, Chastain, McDowell, and Joey Logano were going three wide on Turn 2 with Logano on the outside and Chastain trying to pass from the inside. McDowell squeezed Chastain a little bit and Chastain (possibly) drove on the rumble strip for a while, and ended up making contact with McDowell’s left rear.

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Prior to anything taking place, the #1 spotter warned his driver about a likely spin and instructed him to keep his speed down. He then asked Chastain how his right front tire was doing, to which the latter replied that it had been hit, though he wasn’t sure how badly it had been hit.


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Insinuating that the event was the product of Chastain’s conduct, the #34 spotter later stated that Chastain had spun them. Now, it seems that the unfortunate yet inevitable wreck goes down as another addition to Chastain’s infamous list of contacts. And going by Hamlin’s warning regarding McDowell’s physical stature, Chastain would do well to avoid brushing him in the future.

Watch This Story: 7 worst wrecks involving Ross Chastain that were detrimental to his rivals



Ansuman Abhisek

360 articles

Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.

Edited By: Nischal Kandpal