Larson squeezed Chastain into the wall on a restart with 13 laps remaining in Sunday’s race as he tried to hold on to his lead. Then on the next restart, Chastain attempted a similar move to try and hold off Larson, but this time both cars ended up wrecking.
Byron, who was running third, inherited the lead – and held on in overtime for the win – while Chastain ended up in the garage and Larson limped home to a 20th-place finish.
Asked to describe the incident Chastain said, “Full commit. I got really tight and drove up and turned myself. I wanted to squeeze him and wanted to push him up.
“We had been trading back and forth all day and I wanted to push him up for sure, but I definitely did not want to turn myself into the wall. We had a shot, that’s all we can ask for.”
Larson declined interview requests following the race.
Larson’s team owner, Rick Hendrick, credited Chastain as a very talented driver but said he needed to tone down his aggression if he ever hoped to win a series championship.
“I think you can ask any driver in here that he’s wrecked or been involved with him. He doesn’t have to be that aggressive, and I guess at this point in the race maybe you’re super aggressive,
but you just don’t run people up in the fence. He’s going to make a lot of enemies. It’s hard to win a championship when you’ve got a lot of paybacks out there.
“With Kyle (Larson), this one and Dover and just Talladega, it’s really getting old with these guys.”