NASCAR: Ross Chastain punches Noah Gragson after Kansas race
Ross Chastain punched Noah Gragson in the face after Gragson grabbed his firesuit in a post-race discussion after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas.
Gragson was unhappy with the way that Chastain raced him at one point during the race after he got pinched into the wall by Chastain. Gragson confronted Chastain after the race and things escalated from there.
🔊: @NoahGragson had sharp words for @RossChastain on pit road. pic.twitter.com/XJPhvXGGSw
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 7, 2023
“I got tight off [Turn 4] for sure,” Chastain said of his car pushing up the track. “Noah and I have a very similar attitude on the race track and we train together, we prepare together, we know each other’s ever little bit about each other.”
“Definitely crowded him up off of [Turn 4] and he took a swipe at us in [Turn 3] and then he came down and grabbed ahold of me and a very big man once told me we have a no-push policy here at Trackhouse.”
Here's how it unfolded on the track to make Gragson unhappy with Chastain.
Sunday wasn’t the first time the two drivers had a run-in during the closing laps of a race this season. Gragson went into the wall to trigger a big wreck on a late restart at Talladega as Chastain forced a three-wide move for the lead just two weeks ago. Even if you don't believe that Chastain meant to put Gragson into the wall on purpose during either race, you can understand why Gragson would be upset.
Gragson went on to finish 29th and five laps down after bringing out a caution for a spin with 60 laps to go. Chastain finished fifth.
Denny Hamlin wins after putting Kyle Larson into the wall
The fracas between Chastain and Gragson happened after Denny Hamlin nudged Kyle Larson into the wall on the backstretch on the final lap. Hamlin had chased Larson down for the lead but was unable to get past Larson over the closing laps. As he got to Larson’s bumper down the backstretch on the final lap, Hamlin got into the back of Larson’s car and Larson hit the wall.
"Roles reversed, I'm like, dammit, I'm pissed for sure," Hamlin said.
Larson said he was dealing with a loose car over the final laps and the bump from Hamlin pushed his car over the edge.
"I was trying to do what I could to manage it, just was really loose at that end, and yeah, just he was a little bit better than me there at the end," Larson said immediately after climbing from his car.
"I haven't seen a replay either, but obviously he was side-drafting really aggressively like you would, but he was like touching me it felt like, and it just had me kind of out of control."