Chastain began the race with an uneventful Stage 1, in which he ended up finishing fifth and appeared to have a car that could contend for the win.

But on Lap 65, Chastain drove into back of Denny Hamlin – last weekend’s winner at Charlotte – and sent his No. 11 Toyota hard into the Turn 1 wall. Hamlin’s race wasn’t done but he fell 11 laps down and finished 34th.

After his car received some repairs, Hamlin returned to the track and the next time Chastain passed him, Hamlin squeezed him hard down to the apron. At the time, NASCAR officials told Hamlin’s team the driver had “made his point.”

Later in the same stage, Chastain tried squeezing in between two cars in a three-wide move on Lap 102, but ended up hitting Chase Elliott and sent him spinning on the frontstretch in the middle of the field.

On the restart following that caution, both Elliott and Hamlin hit Chastain’s car, which briefly knocked him off the pace. He slipped back to 33rd place. He eventually rallied to finish eighth but knows the issues with the drivers are likely far from over.


“It was just terrible driving. It’s one thing to do it once, but I just kept driving into guys. At this level, I’m supposed to be better than that,” Chastain said. “I have all these people believing in me with Justin Marks and PitBull putting me in this car. They deserve better.”

Chastain said he would seek out both Hamlin and Elliott and attempt to talk to both of them although he isn’t sure it would do much good.

“I owe half of the field an apology. Words aren’t going to fix it, so I’ll have to pay for it on the track. I almost did today and I deserve everything that they do,” he said.

“I can’t believe I continued to make those same mistakes; overdrive the corners and drive into guys. I had time under caution to get reset; and we’d go green and I would drive into somebody. Terrible.”

Asked how he would deal with Chastain moving forward, Hamlin said, “It’s good that he takes responsibility but ultimately it ruined our day. We were kind of racing hard there for a while on the inside and he tried to keep sliding up in front of us and he wasn’t able to.

“It didn’t take long after he tucked in behind us that he wrecked us. The unfortunate part is he didn’t get too shy after that because I think he hit (Elliott) after that one. We’ve all learned the hard way and we’ve all had it come back around on us.

“It’ll be no different.”

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