Kyle Larson Questions Reporter After Calling Ross Chastain’s Video Game Move at Martinsville an ‘Embarrassment’ to NASCAR
Kyle Larson attempted to pull off a video game move by riding the wall on the final turn last year at Darlington in the Southern 500. It didn’t work, and he came up just short, finishing second behind Denny Hamlin. Ross Chastain finished third and watched it all happen in front of him.
It was a role reversal on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway as Larson ran in second while Hamlin was in fifth, and more importantly, in position to advance to next weekend’s Championship 4 race heading into the final two turns. The Trackhouse Racing driver, marked in 10th position, was desperate and had to pick up a seemingly impossible two spots on a track that many cars struggled to pass. The watermelon farmer pulled off his own video game move perfectly, planting up against the outside wall and zipping past his competition, including the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into the final playoff spot.
While fans were raving about what some consider one of, if not the greatest move of all time, Larson was not a fan of it at all and didn’t even attempt to sugarcoat it.
Ross Chastain pulls off video game move
With four laps remaining at Martinsville, Kyle Larson rode in third place, chasing Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe. Behind them, a half-dozen drivers battled hard for top-10 positions, including Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin, who have had multiple run-ins this season, and were separated by two points in the playoffs, with the JGR driver one point to the good.
As they made the final lap around the Paper Clip, Chastain made the decision on the backstretch to run up next to the wall, go full throttle, and see where the Hail Mary move took him. It took him around Turns 3 and 4 faster than anyone could have imagined, and he passed multiple cars, including Hamlin at the finish line.
More importantly, he swapped positions with Hamlin on the playoff cutline, advancing to the championship race next weekend in Phoenix. The 41-year-old JGR driver was eliminated.
Kyle Larson ’embarrassed’ by Chastain move and questions reporter about it
Kyle Larson finished second at Martinsville, just a week after dominating at Homestead. Chastain’s move happened behind him. He saw it on replay. When asked about it, the Hendrick Motorsports driver got into an interesting exchange with reporters.
“Have you seen Chastain’s move?” one reporter asked.
“Yeah, I did,” Larson responded.
“What about that?” the reporter questioned.
“I don’t know,” Larson said with a shrug. “What do you guys think?”
“Do you think you inspired it at all last year?” another reporter asked, referring to his move at Darlington.
“Yeah, and I’m a bit, uh, I don’t know, embarrassed that I did because that was pretty embarrassing, honestly,” Larson said. “That’s not a good look for our sport — at all. I don’t know what you guys think. You probably think it’s cool. But I think it’s pretty embarrassing.”
“Why don’t you think it’s a good look?” another reporter asked the driver.
“Why do you think it’s a good look?” the driver countered. After the reporter didn’t provide an answer, the driver asked again.
“I don’t know. Fans cheered, I guess,” the reporter replied.
“It’s not a good look,” Larson finished with a shake of his head.
Larson disagreed with Chastain earlier this year
Larson’s take is a curious one, considering he tried a similar move against Hamlin last year and failed. But it’s not the first time this season that the reigning Cup Series champ has disagreed with Chastain.
At Road America, the HMS driver lost his patience and moved the No. 1 car out of the way late in Stage 3, sending him off track. A month later and before the halfway point of Stage 2 at Michigan, Chastain held the lead with Larson right behind him. Larson’s spotter had a proposal for his driver and communicated it over the radio.
“If you and Ross can work together here, try to pull away,” his spotter suggested, with three Toyotas in pursuit behind them.
“Ha,” Larson quickly responded. “Ross doesn’t work together with anybody. Funny.”
“I mean, I get it, but it may help us both get away from those guys and then we can battle it out later,” Larson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels added.
The two never paired up.
Larson not liking the way Chastain races is understandable. That aggressive style has ruffled more than a few feathers this year. The Trackhouse driver fully understands it may not win him any friends, but it can certainly help him win races, or in Sunday’s case, a shocking berth in the Championship 4 race in Phoenix.
Have thoughts on this topic? Keep the conversation rolling in our comments section below.