Ross Chastain takes pole in Nashville

LEBANON, TENNESSEE – JUNE 25: Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 25, 2023 in Lebanon, Tennessee.  (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Ross Chastain celebrates after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Nashville. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Ross Chastain picked up his first win of 2023 on Sunday night in Nashville.

Chastain passed Martin Truex Jr. on lap 267 of the 300-lap race and led the rest of the way to take the third victory of his career. Chastain earned the first two victories of his Cup Series career a season ago at Circuit of the Americas and Talladega.

Chastain started first and led the most laps of any driver throughout Sunday’s race. He easily held Truex at bay after taking the lead and a deft three-wide move in traffic with 20 laps to go ensured Truex couldn’t get near his bumper.

Although the victory ensures that Chastain will be part of the playoff group this fall, he did not miss the playoffs even though he went winless. Chastain entered the race fourth in the points standings and was just 24 points behind Truex in first. Chastain was definitely going to make the playoffs on points.

The most bizarre moment of the race came after Chastain’s victory. Chase Briscoe met Chastain Trackhouse teammate Daniel Suarez as Suarez appeared to swerve down the track to congratulate Chastain on his win.

Chastain has been NASCAR’s most polarizing driver since the start of the 2022 season due to his aggressive driving and he had been a little flustered ahead of his win. Since finishing fifth at Kansas in May, Chastain had finished 29th, 22nd, 22nd and 10th before the only bye week of the Cup Series season.

“That’s why every little kid all over the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to do that if you’re competitive, they’ll try to tear you down,” Chastain said after the race. “You’ll start to believe you can’t do it.”

“You have to go to your people, trust the process, read your books, trust the big man’s plan upstairs, keep getting up and going to work. I have to tell you, a lot of soul-searching throughout. of all of this. I had a group that believed in me and they didn’t let me down. They bring rockets and I’m just trying to steer them to the path of victory.

Denny Hamlin was third while Chase Elliott was fourth and Kyle Larson was fifth. William Byron finished sixth while Christopher Bell finished seventh ahead of Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger in the top 10.

The Strange Wreck of Ryan Blaney

Wrecking Ryan Blaney into an inside wall was the weirdest moment before the checkered flag. Blaney slipped after being hit by Kyle Busch on a restart after the pitch checked behind Brad Keselowski. As Blaney appeared to be trying to spin his car after leaving the grass of the field and hitting the pit road curb, the car did not turn left and instead rammed into the wall.

The wall Blaney hit was solid concrete and not protected by a SAFER barrier like the outer walls of the track. The crash has once again made it clear that all exposed walls at NASCAR tracks must have SAFER barriers to absorb crash impacts.

Blaney was checked and released from the field care center after taking a moment to get out of his car following the crash. He called the wreckage the hardest hit of his career, although he was not at full speed when he hit the wall.

Tyler Reddick’s Loose Wheel

Tyler Reddick had one of the fastest cars on stage one before a loose wheel ended his chances of victory on stage two.

Reddick made a green flag pit stop and his team did not lock the right rear wheel of his car. After Reddick acknowledged that the wheel was not tight, he returned to pit road. As he slowed down to get to pit road, Reddick’s car began to wobble and he spun as he entered the pits and the wheel came off.

The incident prompted a warning and sent Reddick to the back of the pack. His car was also damaged when the wheel came off and he finished two laps in 30th.

Kevin Harvick finished 24th after having to leave the top 10 for a punctured right rear tire during the final green flag pit stop of the race. Harvick could easily have finished in the top five had it not been for a puncture.

Race results

1.Ross Chastain

2. Martin Truex Jr.

3. Denny Hamlin

4. Chase Elliott

5. Kyle Larson

6.William Byron

7. Christopher Bell

8. Erik Jones

9. Kyle Busch

10. AJ Allmendinger

11. Brad Keselowski

12. Daniel Suarez

13.Austin Dillon

14. Ty Gibbs

15. Bubba Wallace

16. Ryan Preece

17. Alex Bowman

18. Chris Buescher

19. Joey Logan

20. Corey The Joy

21. Harrison Burton

22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

23. Justin Haley

24. Kevin Harvick

25. Aric Almirola

26. Noah Gragson

27. Austin Cindric

28. Michael McDowell

29. JJ Yeley

30. Tyler Red Dick

31. Chasing Briscoe

32. Ty Dillon

33. Brennan Poole

34. Josh Bilicki

35. Todd Gilliland

36. Ryan Blaney

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