Ross Chastain and Joey Logano are two of the most aggressive drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series. This holds true when they race each other, but they are able to avoid collisions due to outright mutual respect.
The race at Auto Club Speedway on February 26 was a fitting example. There was a moment when Logano dove to the bottom of the track in an effort to pass two cars at once, but Chastain threw a block and forced the No. 22 down onto the apron.
Logano was close to going through the grass, but he had just enough room to remain on the racing surface and in contention for the lead. This was by design as Chastain left him a lane just big enough to avoid an incident that could have damaged Logano’s Ford Mustang.
“I threw a pretty big block,” Chastain told reporters after the race. “So I left him a lane. That’s what’s so cool about Joey and I. You know, we can race that aggressively and give it to each other and receive it. I’m not saying he’s totally happy with me today, but he’ll feed it right back to me and I’ll fight him back. That’s why it seems to work with him and I.”
What led to this unique relationship between the two championship contenders? There are likely several examples of battles that occurred on the race track. However, Chastain specifically pointed to a previous season and a moment that he shared with Logano at Kansas Speedway.
“We had a long conversation on pit road a few years ago after a race, and we got on the same page,” Chastain added with a wry smile. “And we’ve stayed on the same page ever since with really aggressive racing. But we always leave each other like exactly one lane.”
There Are Similarities Between the 2 Drivers
Chastain and Logano have different personalities outside of their respective stock cars. Logano is boisterous and he often becomes the center of attention while smiling at everyone and cracking jokes. Chastain is far more reserved and soft-spoken. There are even times when you have to strain to hear him talking in interviews.
When the two drivers are in their stock cars, however, they have similarities. Both make aggressive blocks, and they will do what it takes to capture the win. Logano moving William Byron out of the way at Darlington Raceway and Chastain sending AJ Allmendinger into the side of Alex Bowman at Circuit of the Americas are two fitting examples.
This aggressiveness has led to some strong comments from competitors. Kyle Busch has made his opinion of his fellow two-time champion clear while saying that Logano is two-faced, something that the Team Penske driver has acknowledged multiple times.
Similarly, Denny Hamlin has been vocal about Chastain’s aggressive driving after having multiple run-ins with the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro between 2022 and 2023. Other drivers, such as Austin Dillon, have also made comments about Chastain’s aggressiveness after incidents on the track.
Logano and Chastain have ruffled the feathers of other drivers out on the track. What they haven’t done is anger each other while battling for stage points and wins. Instead, they have continued to show each other respect while embracing their battles. They just haven’t gone out of their way to cut each other any breaks.
The 2 Drivers Will Continue Battling in Numerous Races
Chastain is only in his second season with Trackhouse Racing, but he has spent plenty of time around Logano. They both drive for teams with quality equipment, which means that they are regularly battling for stage points and wins.
The 2022 season, in particular, featured both drivers celebrating multiple wins and reaching the playoffs. They continued to contend through every single round before they both reached the championship four.
The final laps of the season finale even featured Chastain trying to chase Logano down so that he could potentially win the championship. Though he ultimately finished third in the race and second in the standings while Logano won his second title since 2018.
If the first two races of the 2023 season are any indication, this trend should only continue for the remaining 34 points-paying events. Chastain has two top-10 finishes and one top-five in the first two races, and he is the points leader by virtue of three stage wins. Logano is one point back after securing one top-five and one top-10 of his own.