Why Did Ross Chastain Apologises to Team Despite Career-Best Finish in the Cup Series?

Published 06/22/2021, 1:00 PM EDT
Jun 13, 2021; Fort Worth, TX, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain (42) drives during the NASCAR All-Star Open at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


At the 2021 Ally 400, it was that man Kyle Larson who won once again. However, the big story was 2nd-placed man Ross Chastain, in a career-best finish. On a surprising note, the 28-year-old chose to stay humble about his race and actually apologised to his team.

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Admittedly, the team confessed that they had goosebumps while watching Chastain’s ‘inspired’ drive. Apparently the apology came because he questioned the team’s strategy initially. For the sake of context, the caution flew with 72 laps left on the board and the team called in third-placed Chastain to pit.

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Naturally, he second-guessed the call because he was the first of the lead-lap cars to pit. The pit stop dropped him down to 17th, and he understandably felt that they had thrown away a good finish. In the final 68 laps, the #42 Chip Ganassi car had a ‘hold my beer’ moment as he scythed his way up 15 spots on fresh tires.

The moment humbled Ross Chastain

“It was humbling because I really believed that we had done that, and there would be more cautions,” Chastain said. “They know better than I do. They also knew that we couldn’t make it to the end. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. We would have had to pit under green there, even if we stayed in the top four or five. They knew what they were doing. I’m sorry that I doubted them. Just heat of the moment in the car. It’s really hot. I’m sweaty and tired and man, we’re running third, we’re going to give this up. I need to just drive.”

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May 23, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Ross Chastain (42) meets with his pit crew before qualifying in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

His adrenaline-fuelled anger aside, Chastain has been in good form off late. In the past four races, ‘The Melon Man’ recorded three top 10 finishes. Admittedly, his #42 predecessor Kyle Larson has won six times in his car, but Ross Chastain is more focused on a playoff berth.

The 28-year-old confessed that he was praying that there were no chaotic restarts. Now all that he can do is remain confident in his own abilities. Nevertheless, the 2nd-place result was a delightful surprise and not what he was expecting in his wildest dreams.

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DIVE DEEPER

WATCH: Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain Have a Heated Discussion After Their Wreck in Phoenix

5 months ago

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Dhruv George

11765 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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