Focused Ross Chastain Refutes Fellow Drivers’ Superspeedway Criticism to Acclaim Atlanta’s ‘Crazy Perfect Storm’

Published 02/28/2024, 7:48 PM EST

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Last Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was more than just an average superspeedway race. Just from an entertainment point of view, the fans had the best experience and showcase of NASCAR racing, and that too in a superspeedway plate racing package. While drivers have expressed their dislike and reservations about racing on a track like Atlanta, Ross Chastain feels that the race at Atlanta is the perfect combination a driver could ask for.

The race had it all: a chaotic start, a battle for the lead, a number of cautions, and, best of all, a three-wide finish at the end. It was a perfect show for the fans to witness, but for the drivers, it turned out to be a daunting task. To an extent, the challenges and tactical nuances of racing on a track like Atlanta are too much for the driver. But Ross Chastain somehow found his joy in what was a pulsating display of stock car racing.

Is Ross Chastain growing fond of perfect combination racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway?


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After a dull performance at the Daytona 500, Ross Chastain was put to the test in yet another superspeedway configuration race in Atlanta. This time around, he managed to turn things around and finished the P7 after a chaotic yet exhilarating experience for the drivers. The new track at Atlanta comes with sharper banking on the turns, a shorter length of 1.5 miles, and a narrower width. This is what made the track so unique and distinct from other superspeedway venues.

Explaining his experience, Chastain, while speaking to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said, “We are having fun, Dave. It was a crazy perfect storm of a combination of a lot of speed to the point that my hands hurt in the car from gripping the wheel so tight…I only ran a few laps wide open around the whole track and those were not comfortable. Yeah, I’m glad guys expressed that, they came out and said it. It’s easy for me to say it when we rebound and we get top ten but it’s harder to smile when you don’t finish this cup races.”

Ross Chastain further went on to explain how the racetrack is a perfect combination for race car drivers. “So when the handling, we were having to lift but you can still draft up, it was a perfect combination. Atlanta is in obviously a really good spot right now, and we get to keep moving through its evolution of the repave with it. From the very first time we went there to now we’re in year three and we get to continue to watch it grow up, it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.”

Read More: Livid Carson Hocevar Drops Multiple F-Bombs as Bubba Wallace Triggers Atlanta “Lift Off”


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However, the Melon Man did put in a regular shift at the office, bumping and wrecking cars during the race. JGR’s Denny Hamlin even blamed him for spinning the homeboy Chase Elliot out of contention in stage 3.

Hamlin is back, painting the No. 1 driver as the villain


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Chase Elliot was eager to be back racing in Atlanta in his backyard. The HMS driver wanted to repeat his win from 2020, but that was not possible on Chastain’s watch. During stage 3 of the race, Ross Chastain was at odds with Bubba Wallace for the free pass position, when the pack of Elliot and the other top ten drivers arrived at the scene. But Chastain, in his bid to secure the position for himself, tapped Elliot’s car multiple times and finally spun him out of the track.


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Shedding a light on the incident, Hamlin on his show explained, “I’m saying that Chase is racing and Ross is jammed up his rear end, and so Chase, he’s got to make moves depending on what’s going on in front of him. If he’s got people checking up, well if you don’t give the guy in front of you room entering the corner…In that part of the pack, very little of the field is actually running wide open.”

It was indeed a tough race for the drivers to survive and make it to the end. However, given Chastain’s nature and his style of racing, it certainly won’t be a surprise if he pulls off similar moves and tactics in the upcoming races.


Written by:

Chintan Devgania


One take at a time

Chintan Mahesh Devgania is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As someone who likes to dive deep into the sport, he often takes up less explored topics to eventually see them make their way into top stories. His report on Toyota’s young recruit, Jade Avedisian, sharing her thoughts on Late Model Racing, was an example of that.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta