Ross Chastain is nothing if not controversial. And on Sunday, the Trackhouse Racing star added to his infamous legacy on the Cup Series circuit.
Following a series of crashes, including a huge collision between Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon on Lap 61, the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard went to a three-lap overtime. Tyler Reddick, the baby-faced driver for Richard Childress Racing who has quickly established himself as one of NASCAR’s best prospects, started overtime in pole position, wrestling with Team Penske’s Austin Cindric for control.That’s when Chastain did what Chastain does. With four cars converging on Turn 1, Chastain slowed down, seemingly preparing to do what all the other racers were doing and curl around the bend.
Then, he decided to take a shortcut. Chastain made a move for the access lane, avoiding all the chaos that ensued on Turn 1. He was subsequently spit out a car length in front of Reddick, who, like all of us watching, was stunned.
NASCAR: “[Ross Chastain and Austin Dillon] have received 30-second penalties for short-cutting the course.”Do you agree with the call? https://t.co/Fn6y4p7Njz pic.twitter.com/hdi2aEqnO2
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 31, 2022
That looked…pretty illegal. Chastain was eventually penalized for his move, as was Austin Dillon, who mirrored Chastain’s move.
However, Reddick didn’t know that at the time. And given the relative uncertainty about whether Chastain was permitted to cut through the field like that, Reddick had to make sure he was on his game.
Reddick eventually took the checkered flag, outlasting a late Chastain effort. Chastain incurred a 30-second penalty for his cheeky trek through the access road. That meant he dropped from second place to…27th. You got to respect the effort.
Chastain explained afterwards that he made the move in the spur of the moment, deciding to go through the access lane after noticing just how many cars were in Turn 1. His team didn’t know anything about it, he said.
He also mentioned that he accidentally went into the access lane during Saturday’s qualifiers. Perhaps that put the idea in his head.
— NASCAR on TSN (@NASCARonTSN) July 31, 2022
Nonetheless, social media was at its most glorious in the aftermath of Sunday’s, with many ribbing Chastain for his interesting play. Here’s some of our favorite tweets:
Oh no I think Ross Chastain’s controller died! pic.twitter.com/93pWY2PGlK
— RACING WITH CONTEXT (@nocontextracin) July 31, 2022
— Steve Luvender (@steveluvender) July 31, 2022
In todays fast-paced and demanding work environment, it’s important to learn to say “no” to tasks that are too much to handle right now
Thank you Ross Chastain for reminding us https://t.co/0xYWJo0Ljp
— alexjandro (@_alexjandro) July 31, 2022
Ross Chastain on that final restart pic.twitter.com/Fo52QOTpc9
— CPK Diecast (@cpk_diecast) July 31, 2022
It was a lame move and I’m glad he didn’t win, but I hope Ross Chastain didn’t just get penalized for exposing NASCAR’s lackadaisical access road rules.#NASCAR
— Eric Estepp (@EricEstepp17) July 31, 2022
Ross Chastain was playing chess while the rest of the field played checkers
— Moonhead (@itsmoonhead) July 31, 2022
Remember kids, cheaters never prosper…