Ross Chastain was in the middle of the race of his career.
He was able to hold off two Cup champions as the race continued and it resulted in a career day. But during an incident with one of those Cup champions, the dream day was over.
After Brad Keselowski made a mistake, the spotlight was on the Kevin Harvick/Chastain battle with less than 45 laps remaining. As Chastain approached lapped cars, with Harvick stalking, the two entered the backstretch.
Harvick made contact with Chastain that sent the two into the wall, with Chastain sandwiched between the No. 98 and the wall. The two had substantial damage with Harvick taking his No. 98 behind the wall. Harvick, as he normally is, was blunt about the situation and immediately threw the blame on the “inexperienced” driver behind the wheel of the No. 42.
“I tried to stay as low as I could and he just rode on my door,” Harvick said. “That’s just a really inexperienced racer and a really bad move there and got the air and got on beside me and just kept going up the race track. I couldn’t do anything with the wheel.
“So, you’ve got a really inexperienced guy in a really fast car and made a really bad move, and then wrecked me down the back straightaway and hooked me to the right. That’s probably the reason that he’ll never get to drive many of them again.”
Unlike Harvick, Chastain was able to wheel his car to the end of the race finishing 25th, two laps down. Chastain was able to speak with the media following the race and by his reaction, the accident was just a little black cloud in his sunny world and he managed to leave Darlington Raceway with a smile.
“First of all, it’s a dream come true to get to race against these guys and go restart-to-restart with them,” Chastain said. “It was just racing man, like Saturday Night short track stuff, it was fun.
“I don’t know, I haven’t watched the film,” he said of the incident. “We were just trying to race and I want to thank DC Solar and CGR and everybody who gave me this opportunity. They gave me all the tools I needed and we aren’t where we should be on the finishing order.”
Chastain will return to the JD Motorsports No. 4 next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then will run the No. 42 at the regular season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He will also kick off the playoffs in the CGR car at Richmond Raceway.