Chastain, Gragson make nice after Kansas post race ‘meeting’

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 13: Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Worldwide Express/UPS Chevrolet, walks the grid during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 13, 2023 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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.”