Intermediate tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series have been real problem children in recent years. The on-track product really hasn’t been all that great in recent years. Sunday was the exception to that rule.
Up until the checkered flag, Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 would have been best remembered for the on-track product. It was a breath of fresh air.
FOX Sports was sitting pretty when it happened. Prior to the race, it spent a decent amount of time on NASCAR RaceDay rehashing Chastain’s previous runs-in and how it could affect him going forward. His track record has already caused issues this year as Sunday’s (May 7) winner Denny Hamlin copped a 25-point penalty after Phoenix for admitting on Actions Detrimental that he tried to intentionally wreck him, thus committing, well, actions detrimental.
The whole issue between Chastain and Gragson on lap 202 was really benign; this whole stupid confrontation shouldn’t have happened. I know that I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself and my whole family in front of thousands of people at the track and millions on TV like they did. It’s just that Chastain is so hated among his peers that this was inevitable. For all I know, it’ll happen Sunday in Darlington Raceway as well, just with someone else.
I’ve seen a number of pieces on the internet recently that claim that Chastain is the next Dale Earnhardt. He’s not. He might, however, be the next Ernie Irvan, someone who is really good behind the wheel and, at his best, could beat anyone. Also, Irvan was someone that ticked off his peers to such a degree that he ended up having to give an apology speech at the driver’s meeting prior to the 1991 DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after he wiped out Hut Stricklin (and half a dozen others) while racing for the lead at Pocono Raceway.
I could foresee something along these lines coming for Chastain in the near future.
On the broadcast, this fight occurred while Kyle Larson was being interviewed. It seems like Josh Sims’ monitor was close enough that Larson was able to see the fight live and completely lost his train of thought. Almost all of the confrontation was aired live…