Denny Hamlin had some strong words for Ross Chastain after multiple incidents during the Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Now Trackhouse Racing’s owner has responded and said, “let’s battle.”
“I’m here for it,” Justin Marks told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on June 6. “I’m ready. … The drama, the controversy. I guess there’s a lot of talk in this sport, right. There’s a lot of time we spend telling everybody what we are going to do and not a lot of time doing it. So if they wanna play, it’ll be fun.
“I mean, the thing is — I’ve said this a number of times — I’m a huge fan of the sport. I love entertaining fans and doing stuff out there that gets the conversation going. Like if we wanna battle, let’s battle. I’m not going to shy away from that.”
These comments follow a contentious Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Chastain, who drives the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet, sent Hamlin into the wall and then he spun Chase Elliott when the field was three-wide. The two drivers responded by taking their own shots at Chastain.
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Hamlin Set the Stage for Future ‘Payback’
When Chastain sent Hamlin into the wall, there were questions about whether the driver of the No. 11 would deliver some payback after repairs. Hamlin provided a partial answer. He spent a significant portion of the race messing with his fellow driver by swerving in front of him and slowing him down. However, he didn’t make contact with the No. 1 Chevrolet.
Based on Hamlin’s post-race comments, there will likely be another form of payback later in the season. No one knows when it will happen. The veteran driver told media members that the sport is self-policing and that he has to weigh the odds of when to deliver the message.
“You only want to pay back when it counts,” Hamlin said, quote courtesy of FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “Once he got done taking out the No. 9 after me, he wasn’t in contention to win anymore. So — I’ve said many times — you’re going to have to fence these guys hard just to kind of get their attention, but it’s going to have to be meaningful. It’s going to be on a meaningful day.”
Chastain Took a Different Approach Than Marks
While Marks did not shy away from potential future conflict, his driver took a different approach. Chastain met with multiple media members and expressed regret for the moves that he made on the race track that led to cautions.
“I was just way off on my driving today,” Chastain said. “Running into people is not acceptable at this level, and I can not believe — standing here right now — that I just did so many mistakes back-to-back. It’s one thing for one, but absolutely drove over my head today.”
Chastain finished his post-race availability with a very strong statement about himself. He told reporters that he should not be in a race car if he makes mistakes like that. Though Marks later told NBC Sports that he doesn’t think there is “a single thing” that Chastain did wrong at WWTR.