Column: Ross Chastain & Noah Gragson Mend Fences After Fisticuffs At Kansas Speedway
Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – DARLINGTON, SC – After last Sunday’s post-race dust-up at Kansas Speedway, Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson are back on good terms.
That’s bound to make their weekly interactions more comfortable, given that the drivers work out together when they’re not on the race track.
Chastain and Gragson came to blows after swapping sheet metal during the NASCAR Cup Series race. After Chastain ran Gragson into the wall, Gragson retaliated and forced Chastain’s Chevrolet to the apron of the 1.5-mile track.
Chastain salvaged a fifth-place finish, but Gragson came home 29th, five laps down. After the race, Gragson confronted Chastain and expressed his displeasure. A push from Gragson led to punches before the drivers were separated.
By Monday, however, the healing process was complete.
“Yeah, he (Gragson) called me Sunday night,” Chastain said Saturday morning at Darlington Raceway, where he is sporting a paint scheme reminiscent of Dale Jarrett’s first season in the UPS car. “I was still in the garage, and I didn’t feel like I had the bandwidth to think about it or talk about it.
“I was just happy we got out of there with a top five and was ready to get home. I called him back Monday. I was heading up to Hickory to run a late model stock. I’m kind of doing a lot of this racing stuff backwards, and now I’m driving a late model stock at Hickory for the first time.
“So I called him on my way up there. We talked for a little while and (were) in a really good place. And then we both went to Millbridge (Speedway) Monday night and with the Chevy program; we ran micros and had a blast. Just bonded over fast, little sprint cars. It was good—just laughing and joking, and we’ve been good at the gym all week.”
Joey Logano reminisces about rare ride-around at Darlington
As a 19-year-old rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2009, Joey Logano got an offer he couldn’t refuse—a trip around Darlington Raceway with one to the track’s vaunted winners, Cale Yarborough.
It’s rare that any young driver can master the Track Too Tough to Tame without some veteran guidance, and on Throwback Weekend at the 1.366-mile speedway, that’s an experience indelibly etched in Logano’s memory.
“I’ll remember it forever,” Logano said on Saturday at Darlington. “I know that. I don’t sit in the passenger seat very often, but when it’s Cale Yarborough around Darlington, I’ll strap in and go for a ride, because that’s like the coolest thing you can do.
“I remember some of the things he told me about how to get around this place, and it hasn’t changed much since he raced, because it all lined up really, really well about how you get around the place and what to do. Part of it was cool, just sitting in the passenger seat and watching him wheel it around here. That was really neat, obviously, but, like I said, his advice really transferred over to the modern day—even to today.”
Clearly, the advice paid off. In 18 starts at Darlington, Logano has 10 top 10s, six top fives, one victory and two poles. He’s the defending winner of the Goodyear 400, having triumphed from the top starting spot last year.
Kyle Busch grateful for selection to NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers list
Kyle Busch didn’t try to feign surprise. The shock would have if the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion HADN’T been selected as one of NASCAR’s 75 greatest drivers.
After all, Busch has accumulated 62 NASCAR Cup Series victories, ninth all-time and most among active drivers. He holds records for victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (102) and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (63).
So it was almost a foregone conclusion that Busch would be included on NASCAR’s list of greatest drivers during the 75th anniversary celebration.
“Yeah, I guess to answer ‘Did I expect that?’—Yeah, I did,” Busch said on Saturday at Darlington. “So it wasn’t necessarily going to be a surprise, but I feel like it’s a cool honor and a humbling one to be a part of that group, just with my past successes and all the people that have brought me to this point of my career.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the very beginning of time, racing in Las Vegas in Legend cars and late models, all the way through the ranks to get to the top. And then all the great team members that I’ve worked with from HMS (Hendrick Motorsports), JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and now RCR (Richard Childress Racing).
“Obviously you take that as much as you can with the accolade and the things that you’ve done. To say that you’ve had a really good career is great. Obviously, hopefully, it’s not over.”