Garnering Unwanted Attention for Ross Chastain Neglect, NBC Commentator Comes Clean on Ryan Blaney Favoritism

Published 11/12/2023, 4:43 AM EST

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Last Sunday’s Cup Series Grand Finale at Phoenix saw a different yet one-of-a-kind outcome. NASCAR crowned Ryan Blaney as NASCAR’s new Cup champion. However, Ryan Blaney was just the championship winner. He didn’t win the 312-lap-long race on the 1-mile racetrack in Arizona.

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It was Trackhouse Racing sensation Ross Chastain who took away the race-winner trophy and his second win of the season. Needless to say, many felt like it curbed a big slice from Ryan Blaney’s cake or victory. NBC Sports, however, decided to step in and give Blaney his due respect. But then, a group of fans felt like Ross Chastain was denied his due attention. Amidst the commotion, an NBC analyst opened up about why NBC chose to do what it did.

NBC Sports analyst shed light on the balancing act

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While Ryan Blaney bathed in beer and let out his championship-winning cry, NBC Sports made sure that they recorded the moment from every angle. However, their coverage did not include Ross Chastain’s victory celebration, which featured the unmistakable watermelon-crushing spectacle. And that left the racing fans fuming. Even HMS legend Steve Letarte was shocked.

On that note, one might wonder: Is NBC Sports biased? Well, not really. In a recent interview with NBC Sports’ Rick Allen, Mike Massaro of BVM Sports brought out the truth behind the 97-year-old media house shifting its sole attention to Ryan Blaney’s first-ever championship win.

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With the current playoff format, the entire season of NASCAR comes down to just one race. And that is Championship 4. However sorry it might sound, it is the race that matters the most, and at the end of the day, it’s the Championship 4 that determines the Cup Series title bearer. And that coveted title is fundamentally what every driver seeks to add to their bag of credits.

Allen explained, “Ross’s win was big obviously; a big thing for his career and for his team. But ultimately I put more of the focus at the end of that race…(at) the call on Ryan Blaney winning the championship because that ultimately is the goal at the beginning of the season of every single team. They want to go out and win the championship.”

Although this year was different with Ross Chastain winning the race, Allen admitted that it was not something unexpected, as the community had previously seen the same happen in the Xfinity Series. “We knew he (Chastain) was gonna win the race and so we switched our focus to Ryan and made sure he got his due because forever, this is the first championship that Ryan Blaney has ever won. So, that deserved most of the attention,” he added.

Watch this story: The Unspoken Regret of a NASCAR Legend

However, was it wrong of Ross Chastain to not go easy on Ryan Blaney? Perhaps not. After all, it is these rivalries that keep the sport of NASCAR alive and moving forward.

Every sport needs good rivalries

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The last 31 laps of the championship race stood out as a separate race in itself. And it marked a furious battle between a championship driver and a non-championship driver. The #1 Chevy star blocked three lanes ahead of Ryan Blaney, barring the Team Penske icon from passing him. The latter was so frustrated that he nudged Chastain in the bumper.

Blaney’s frustration clearly resonated with his radio exchange with the #12 crew. Blaney was so worked up that even Roger Penske himself had to take things into his own hands and talk to Blaney, trying to calm his driver down. Rick Allen said, “It was also cool to hear Roger Penske come on his radio also and kind of try to cool him down and calm him down.”

But did Ross Chastain do anything egregious? Certainly not. It was just another race, and there was just another winner. Moreover, it was the Championship 4. Blaney couldn’t have expected Chastain to have gone any easier on him. Chastain didn’t wreck him, nor did he do anything out of the rulebook.

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“Been Super Close for Many Years”- Ryan Blaney Gets Emotional As Championship Ticket Completes Unfulfilled Martinsville Dream

It’s clear that Ryan Blaney wasn’t happy with the way Chastain raced him. But every sport needs rivalries like these to stay alive. Healthy rivalries like these do no harm and, on the contrary, bring out the best in an athlete. Do you agree with this? Let the conversation continue in the comments below. We would love to know what you think!

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha

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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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