DARLINGTON, S.C. — Car owner Rick Hendrick issued a warning to Ross Chastain after Kyle Larson was wrecked for the third time in the past four races by Chastain’s actions.
“If he drives a Chevrolet, I don’t care if he wrecks our cars.”Hendrick said of Chaston, who drives a Chevy for trackhouse racing. “I don’t care. I told Chevrolet. If you destroy us, you get it back. If you don’t do that, they will run over you.
“I’m loyal to Chevrolet, but if someone runs into us, I expect my guys to stand their ground. I’m not going to listen to them because of Chevrolet.
Hendrick was not finished.
“He doesn’t have to be that aggressive,” Hendrick said of Chaston. “I think you can be very aggressive at this stage of the race, but you’re not running people into the fence. That’s going to make a lot of enemies. It’s hard to win a championship when you’re paying back a lot.
Asked if he should be involved, Hendrick mentioned Chastain’s team owner, Justin Marks.
“I think Justin will have a conversation” with Chastain.
As for the message the scores should convey?
“When you have a lot of people willing to pay you, it’s hard to win a championship that way,” Hendrick said.
Of all the incidents with Chastain, Hendrick said: “It’s really gotten old with these guys.”
Hendrick’s words filled the void left by Larson, who left the track without speaking to reporters.
It came after Hendrick – one of his drivers – William Byron – scored his series-high third Cup win at Darlington Raceway on Sunday.
But it might have been Larson if not for Chastain.
Sustain and Larsen were again battling for the lead at the start before trouble struck with six laps remaining.
Chastain connected with Larson and they hit it off again. Chastain’s right rear hit Larsen’s left front. The contact spun Chastain’s car sideways and damaged the left front of Larson’s car, ending his chances of victory. Larson finished 20th.
“I was fully engaged in (Turn) 1 and wanted to push (Larson) up,” Chastain said after exiting the infield maintenance center. “Of course he doesn’t want to turn his nose up. How I don’t want to be standing here talking to you all.
In the previous reboot, the roles were reversed. Larson was in the lower lane and Chastain was in the upper lane. Chastain hit the wall.
When asked by his team if he ran into the wall, Chastain replied over the radio: “Oh yeah. He drove us right into it.
As Chastain decided which route to choose for the next restart, he asked his team if they thought Larson was done or if Larson would do the same.
The group responded by telling Chastain to choose which path she felt most strongly about. It was down, setting up his fateful connection with Larson.
Troubles between Chastain and Larson began in Talladega. Chastain’s contact with Noah Graxon at the front of the field created an accordion impact that collected Larson and ended his race. Larson finished 33rd.
The following week at Dover, Chastain got into the back of Brennan Poole, sending Poole’s car into Larson on the track, ending his chances of victory. Larson finished 32nd.
After Sunday’s incident, crew chief Cliff Daniels told Larson on the radio: “Why did he run into the fence? How does that make sense? … Chevrolet, make those three races now because he took us out. good job. good job. In those three races (number) 1 car put us out.