Sonoma Watermelon Mystery Solved

Trackhouse Racing’s driver Ross Chastain, who won the NASCAR Cup Series’ first road course race of the 2022 season at Austin, Texas in March, said he spent time this week reaching out to a pair of drivers he had run-ins with last week at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet had some contact with both Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott in the race.

And in return, both those drivers – who cars were essentially rendered non-competitive after the Chastain incidents – kept him on his toes in the closing laps thereafter. Their frustration was unmistakable, running Chastain’s car up the track toward the wall and agitating him as he made his way forward in the race. Hamlin implied afterward that there may be “pay back” sometime down the road.

After the checkered flag, Chastain apologized for the hard racing and insisted it wasn’t his intention to wreck either driver. He promised to speak to both drivers this week.

“We had a good conversation,” Chastain said of his talk with Hamlin. “But whatever happens [this weekend], happens.”

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing team later posted to social media a photo of a watermelon left at the No. 11 JGR team hauler on Saturday afternoon – suggesting it may have been a gift – or peace offering – from the famed watermelon farmer Chastain.

Chastain revealed in qualifying however, “not me,” saying the team must have been having some fun with it.