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Kyle Larson is just one of the multiple drivers Ross Chastain has been aggressive with early in 2023. The 2021 Cup Series champion has had a couple of run-ins with the Trackhouse Racing driver in the season’s first dozen races.

On Sunday at Darlington Raceway, it happened again while the pair were running in the front two positions late in the race. The contact, and more importantly, the resulting damage ended either driver’s chance at victory. After the race, the Hendrick Motorsports driver was noticeably unhappy and fans could only wonder if he felt the same way about the watermelon farmer as he had admitted to just days before. 

Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain crash at Darlington

On a restart with 14 laps remaining on the track Too Tough to Tame, Kyle Larson started on the inside of Ross Chastain, who appeared to get an illegal jump, although NASCAR ruled it was not an infraction despite what HMS officials suggested.

Going into Turn 1, the No. 5 moved up the track and contacted the No. 1 car. Driving into the turn, both separated before the HMS car once again slid up the track into the side of the Trackhouse car. That contact abruptly ended when a caution came out for the cars wrecking directly behind them.

It was a role reversal on the subsequent restart as Chastain started on the inside. This time going into Turn 1, the watermelon farmer drifted up the track and made contact with the left front of Larson, which immediately turned the Trackhouse car into the wall.

In an odd scene, the HMS driver appeared to stay in the gas as he drove down the backstretch with the No. 1 stuck on his front fender.  

Larson avoids commenting after race

While Larson driving down the backstretch with Chastain as a hood ornament was certainly a way of showing his displeasure with the situation, the driver did so another way in his remarks following the race in which he finished 20th. 

He didn’t have any. Media members tried to talk with the driver on pit road and at his hauler about the situation, but he declined to comment.  

Makes surprising admission about Chastain just days before

While there’s no doubt, Larson wasn’t happy and didn’t feel like talking about the situation, there’s also reason to believe he didn’t want to address it because he would have to explain how his feelings and actions were the complete opposite of what he said about Chastain just a few days before.

On Monday, a day after Chastain delivered a stiff right hook to Noah Gragson’s face, the HMS driver talked about the brawl on the High Limit Room podcast and that’s when he made a surprising admission.

“Ross has someone mad at him seems like every race,” sprint car driver Brad Sweet said. “Love him or hate him.”

“I kind of like. Obviously, I was upset with him two weeks ago but I kind of love it,” Larson admitted. “I think Ross is great. I think at this point he is sort of like owning it. I think he’s got the potential to be more popular than Chase Elliott. I think it’s awesome. He’s moving the needle.”

“And you need a guy like that in the sport,” Sweet said. “There’s no reason. We can’t all be vanilla. You got to have somebody that goes against the grain a little bit. That causes a little controversy. It seems like he’s fine with it. I think he’s great for the sport. I think having all the different personalities is great. He’s definitely owning it and seems like he does not give a s*** about.”

“And he’s fast as s*** too, so that helps,” Larson concluded. 

Fast and running up front with Larson on a regular basis. This isn’t over. 

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in NASCAR, including breaking stories you can’t find anywhere else, follow Kyle on YouTube and Twitter.


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