It’s no secret that Ross Chastain has been subject to controversy in NASCAR.
Seriously, it feels like the guy is in the headlines week in and week out for all the wrong reasons, whether it was his fault or not.
Last week, we saw him punch Noah Gragson after the rookie confronted him about getting tight off the corner at Kansas and running him into the wall:
“You f*cking doored us and fenced us. You f*cking doored the f*ck out of us man. What the f*ck’s your f*cking problem dude?”
And the gloves came off:
And in the latest bit of controversy, it involves his late race wreck with Kyle Larson at Darlington Raceway.
With that being said, the Trackhouse Racing founder Justin Marks admitted he had to have some “difficult conversations” with Chastain yesterday following his collision with Larson.
Marks said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the organization supports Chastain, but he needs to clean some things up.
Chastain currently leads the NASCAR Cup Series points standings, but lost on his shot to win at Darlington after he admitted to intentionally turning up into Larson off a restart with only six laps to go as they dueled for the lead.
After the race, Chastain admitted to wanting to push Larson up towards the wall and “squeeze him,” but said he didn’t mean to turn himself in the process:
“I got really tight and turned myself. I wanted to squeeze him, I wanted to push him up, we’ve been trading back and forth all day and I wanted to push him up for sure but I definitely didn’t want to turn myself.”
Regarding Chastain’s penchant for wrecking other drivers (and himself) Marks said:
“Ross drove a great race. He made good decisions in the first and second stages in not racing guys super hard, letting a couple of people go, just kind of managing that give and take and everything. And then it all kind of fell apart at the end.
Ross clears Kyle and makes that pass and wins throwback weekend at Darlington seven days after getting into a scuffle on pit road, the guy is a legend. He’s got the skill to do that.
He’s got the ability to do that. The result was just bad. It was just bad for everybody. It was bad for Hendrick, it was bad for Chevrolet, and it was bad for Trackhouse and Ross as the points leader.”
That’s when he admitted to having to have the tough conversations with Chastain about his excessively aggressive driving:
“This has been my life… we have addressed it. We’ve had many conversations with different people today. Some difficult conversations and I think the important message here is that we are a believer in Ross’s talent. That’s obvious.
He’s very fast, but he’s got some things he’s got to clean up. I’ll be totally honest with you, and we today started the process of more aggressively handling that with our partners, with Ross, and with our team.
Not because we’re necessarily mad at him, but there is so much opportunity here, and we are addressing it.
I’m going to take a more active role in it. I love the kid and I love the opportunity of giving every single person that works at Trackhouse to be able to put a championship run together.
But there’s just stuff that needs to be cleaned up, and it’s a process he’s going to have to start going through sooner rather than later. We are very supportive of him, we’re very supportive of this team, and we are addressing it.”
Hard to disagree.
Ross has become one of the best, most polarizing, and most entertaining drivers in NASCAR, much to the dismay of other drivers, owners, and even some fans. He’s aggressive as hell, and oftentimes, wrecks himself trying to win… if you can clean that up and get better finishes, he’ll be tough to beat.