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‘Selfish’ Ross Chastain Swallowed Pride to Congratulate Trackhouse Partner After Atlanta’s Photo Finish Victory

Published 02/29/2024, 6:53 PM EST

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Two races in, the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season has barely begun, but Trackhouse Racing has already established itself as the king of creating viral moments on social media. Following Ross Chastain’s iconic “Hail Melon” maneuver at Martinsville in 2022, the driver of the #99 for Trackhouse, Daniel Suarez, secured a history-making, three-wide victory at the Atlanta Motor Speedway last Sunday, earning himself the 10 spot in SportCenter’s list of viral plays over the weekend, sending the NASCAR world into a well-deserved frenzy.

While three-wide finishes are extremely rare in motorsports, what made this one truly special was the driver who emerged victorious after a 57-race winless streak, the ‘underdog’ Daniel Suarez, But even amidst the celebrations, Trackhouse teammate Ross Chastain’s post-race actions found a way to steal the spotlight, revealing a selfless, or shall we say ‘selfish,’ perspective on sportsmanship in NASCAR.

Ross Chastain Goes “Selfish” for Teammate as Trackhouse Dominates in Atlanta

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Suarez registered his second Cup Series victory in Atlanta. Chastain, on the other hand, had a less dramatic, but still impressive, race himself. Starting P21, the Melon Man fought his way through the pack to finish at a respectable P7, showcasing his tenacity and often reckless racecraft. He led the field for seven laps, reaching a top speed of over 187 mph in his #1 Chevrolet, demonstrating his raw ability to compete at the very top level.

In a heartwarming gesture that resonated deeply with fans, Chastain drove his #1 car alongside Suarez’s #99 Camaro ZL1 before the Mexican driver performed his victory donuts on the front stretch, eager to be the first to congratulate his teammate. He acknowledged the practical implications of his actions in a recent interview with Racing America, stating, “I’m selfish, and I wanted to be the first one to congratulate, and that’s why I drove my car out on the front stretch, and uh ultimately cost our team a bunch of time loading up, but I’ll take it if I can be the first one to give him a high five and look at him from a car and congratulate him. Um yeah, I definitely want to win, but… that whole cool down lap was just hoping that he was the one that got it.”

Chastain’s words, while seemingly contradictory (“selfish” yet celebrating a teammate’s win), perfectly encapsulate the unique spirit of competition and camaraderie that exists within professional spectator sports. His eagerness to celebrate his teammate’s victory, even before securing his own passage home, speaks volumes about his character and the team culture fostered by the breath of fresh air that is Trackhouse Racing.

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

Viral Kings of NASCAR and Vegas Contenders

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Nevertheless, Suarez’s win, along with Chastain’s “video-game-esque” maneuver last year, has solidified Trackhouse’s reputation as NASCAR’s newest “viral kings.” Social media metrics released by FOX show that Suarez’s win became the most viral NASCAR moment since Chastain’s infamous last-lap wall ride at Martinsville, highlighting the team’s unique ability to capture the imagination of fans with a distinct personality to show for it.

This flair for the dramatic extends beyond the drivers, with team owner Justin Marks fostering a culture of innovation and entertainment. Partnering with music icon Pitbull, known for his high-energy performances and ‘worldwide’ personality, amplifies Trackhouse’s unique brand further. The team even announced the launch of a MotoGP satellite team in collaboration with the legendary Aprilia outfit, solidifying their commitment to pushing boundaries and creating a multi-faceted motorsports powerhouse.

However, beyond the viral buzz and the brand attractiveness, both Suarez and Chastain are strong contenders for this weekend’s Penzoil 400 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Chastain boasts an impressive track record at Vegas, with three Top-5 finishes, including a second-place finish in 2022, and even led 151 laps that year. His aggressive yet strategic approach could prove a recipe for success once again.

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#99 Suarez, fresh off his emotional 0.003-second win, carries the momentum of a newly minted-champion. While Vegas hasn’t been his strongest track historically, his recent victory indicates his newfound ability to rise to the occasion. With their sights set on not just checkered flags, but also capturing the hearts and minds of fans ‘worldwide,’ Trackhouse Racing is emerging as a force to be reckoned with in 2024.

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Written by:

Amman Augustin

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Amman Augustin is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With his coverage majorly focusing on the lavish off-track lives of drivers, Amman often brings the lesser-known side of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick to their fans. Another aspect of NASCAR where he flourishes is covering rivalries between competitors.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta