Ross Chastain knows who signs his checks. For now, at least that’s Chip Ganassi. Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway Chastain wasn’t exactly the class of the field.
As the laps were winding down, Chastain was in danger of being lapped. Normally a driver under that threat will do all they can to stay on the lead lap and ahead of the leader. Sunday however, the leader who was fast approaching was his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kurt Busch. As Kurt came up Chastain didn’t slow, instead he moved and allowed Kurt to pass.
That didn’t sit too well with the second-place driver Kurt’s younger brother Kyle. Kyle had taken the lead on the final round of green flag stops a few laps before. Kurt was able to get around him though as Kyle navigated lapped traffic. Kurt re-took the lead with 24 laps to go and faced the same problem, except when he got to Chastain.
“So Kyle beat us on the sequence of the green flag in and out, and that’s what gave him the track position,” Kurt said. “Our car was really good on the bottom, and we radioed to our spotter to tell the 42, Hey, give us the bottom, give us the bottom quicker than you think.”
“When we asked for that, as fast as we did, Kyle’s car was good up top, so it worked in our favor both ways.”
Chastain indeed moved out the way and Kurt would go on to beat his brother. Kyle wasn’t too happy with the move.
“I had everything I had early in the run and then just smoked it behind the 42 (Ross Chastain), obviously,” Kyle said. “It shows you what kind of driver he is.”
For his part, Chastain knew what was going on.
“Kurt asked for the bottom so I gave him that lane,” Chastain said. “I was racing to stay on the lead lap. I’m very aware of what’s going on on the track around me. Kurt asked me for the bottom and I gave it to him.”
Chastain finished 21st, one lap down of course.
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