Ross Chastain moved AJ Allmendinger on the final lap of Sunday’s Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas and the Trackhouse Racing driver had no regrets afterward.
“I didn’t draw it up that way in my head, but I did what I did,” said Chastain. “I stand by it.”
Chastain led at the white flag and was shoved aside by Allmendinger in Turn 15. On Allmendinger’s bumper going into Turn 19, Chastain repaid the favor by hitting Allmendinger and sending him into Alex Bowman.
During his television winner’s interview on the frontstretch, Chastain acknowledged it was hard racing by both drivers and Allmendinger, who was probably upset, owes him one. But Chastain also admitted he wouldn’t go down easy with a chance to win his first race.
Chastain’s team owner, Justin Marks, didn’t see anything too egregious in a wild last lap, especially when it comes to an era where winning races puts drivers in the postseason.
“I struggle to find what’s too much,” Marks said. “Today was no different than how you see so many of these races end. They’re so hard to win. The way people think about racing each other and attacking the racetrack — it changes throughout the race. These races almost always have late-race restarts and there’s so much on the line that you just get to a point where it’s like, all right, who just wants it the most?
“NASCAR’s proven over the last four decades that they’re going to let these races play out like they may and let it self-police. These guys all wanted it. There’s always contact at the end of these races. Honestly, today is not that much different than what you see a lot of times on green-white-checkers at these racetracks. You take that white flag and it’s like, who wants it the most?
“Ross got beat up a little bit today, too. I want to make sure people remember. Ross got used up a little bit today a couple of times. When the money’s on the line and a playoff spot is on the table, you got to do what you got to do. That’s my opinion.”