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Ross Chastain Adds Another Name to His Growing List of Enemies, Led By Hamlin & Larson, at Gateway

Published 06/08/2023, 7:38 AM EDT

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Ross Chastain’s aggressive racing style has once again landed him in hot water, as he adds another name to his growing list of enemies in the NASCAR Cup Series. Being already the talk of the town for ruining races for Noah Gragson, Kyle Larson, Brennan Poole, Noah Gragson, and Martin Truex Jr this season, the #1 driver is in the headlines once again.

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This time, it’s Michael McDowell of the Front Row Motorsports team who found himself on the receiving end of Chastain’s questionable moves during the race at Gateway. Apart from the crash, it was the conversation that ensued between McDowell and his Crew Chief afterward that got the fans’ attention.


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The incident unfolded during a crucial moment in the race when McDowell, working with a brand-new crew chief, Travis Peterson, had positioned himself inside the top 10, showcasing the team’s strength at the World Wide Technology Raceway. McDowell’s performance was commendable, considering they had started the race from 21st place.

Michael McDowell Becomes the Latest Victim to Get ‘Chastain-Ed’

Unfortunately for McDowell, his hard-fought positions were quickly lost when Ross Chastain made contact with the No. 34 car, sending McDowell spinning into the first corner. The incident caused minor damage to McDowell’s car and forced him to start from the back of the field.

Before it all happened, the #1 spotter alerted the Trackhouse Racing driver about a potential spin, advising him to stay low. He then inquired about the condition of his right front tire, to which Chastain responded that it had been hit, but he wasn’t sure of the extent of the damage. Moments later, the #34 spotter claimed that Chastain had spun them, implying that the incident was a result of Chastain’s actions.


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The radioactive video from the Enjoy Illinois 300 gave the fans a clear picture of the altercation between the two drivers.

Michael McDowell, the driver of the #34 car, expressed confusion about what had transpired, stating that he believed there was enough room for Chastain to avoid causing the spin.

His crew chief chimed in with a sarcastic remark, referring to the incident as “Getting Chastained,” highlighting Chastain’s reputation for being involved in on-track incidents.

Despite the setback, McDowell and his team refused to give up. They worked tirelessly to recover lost ground throughout the second stage, but with track position being a precious commodity, the best they could do after falling back was 9th place.

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#34 Spotter’s Clever Strategy Saved the Day for Michael McDowell

A significant factor in McDowell’s success was the strategic decisions made by his first-year crew chief, Travis Peterson. Peterson’s intuitive calls put McDowell in a favorable position throughout the race. In the early stages, he opted for a two-tire strategy, allowing McDowell to gain track position. However, Chastain’s spin nullified the advantage gained, forcing McDowell to fight his way back from the rear of the field.

Despite the setback, McDowell persevered and gradually climbed back into contention. In the final stage, Peterson once again employed a two-tire strategy, propelling McDowell into the top five. With track position playing a crucial role, McDowell managed to hold his ground and secure a well-deserved top-10 finish.


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With a hard-earned top-10 finish at Gateway, McDowell now sits in 20th place in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings. He remains within reach of the post-season cutline, currently occupied by Daniel Suarez, as the championship battle heats up.

Looking ahead, McDowell and Front Row Motorsports have reason to be optimistic. The remaining 11 regular-season events feature three road courses, where McDowell has historically shown strength. Additionally, the series will make history with its first-ever street race in Chicago, adding another wildcard element to the mix. These races present opportunities for McDowell and his team to be considered dark horses in the race for a playoff spot.


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Ross Chastain’s aggressive driving style may have earned him a growing list of enemies, but its drivers like McDowell and teams like Front Row Motorsports who continue to persevere and demonstrate their strength on the track. As the NASCAR Cup Series season unfolds, the rivalries and drama will undoubtedly continue to captivate fans and shape the championship picture.

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Dasnoor Anand

245 articles

Dasnoor Anand is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports who brings a fresh perspective to the world of motorsports. She has always had a knack for writing and a love for cars. For years, she has been a devoted follower of motorsports and is particularly intrigued by the inner workings of Formula 1 teams as well as Stock Car Auto Racing.

Edited By: Ranvijay Singh