New Report Reveals Denny Hamlin Called Out by Ross Chastain Early in Pair’s Conflict, and JGR Driver Won’t Like What Watermelon Farmer Had to Say

Denny Hamlin has 48 NASCAR Cup Series career wins to his credit, two of them in 2022. Ross Chastain has a grand total of two victories in his entire Cup career, both coming this year. The pair had something else in common, in addition to the number of wins this year, and it’s what regularly made the headlines — conflict. 

Both drivers won a couple of races because they ran up front for a large portion of the season. That meant they often ran near each other. During several races, the younger driver made mistakes that cost the veteran. As the number of incidents increased, most expected the Joe Gibbs Racing driver would deliver payback. It never happened. 

This week, during the Door Bumper Clear podcast, the crew revisited the Hamlin-Chastain rivalry. In that discussion, it was revealed that the Trackhouse Racing driver bluntly admitted that he knew the three-time Daytona 500 winner wasn’t ever going to make him pay. 

Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain form rivalry

Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain race at Gateway
Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway on June 05, 2022. | Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Denny Hamlin drove hard in front of Ross Chastain during the inaugural Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway in early June. The driver of the No. 1 car grew increasingly frustrated, unable to pass the JGR car for multiple laps. At one point, the watermelon farmer said enough was enough and drove into the back of the No. 11, sending him up into the wall. 

“We all have learned the hard way, and we’ve all had it come back around on us, and it will be no different,” Hamlin said after the race, hinting at something in the future. 

Chastain apologized.

A month later, at Atlanta, he did it again when he was pursuing Hamlin late in the race, got into the JGR car’s left-rear quarter panel, and sent it for a spin. Following the event, the then 41-year-old talked with reporters about the incident.

“Everyone has different tolerance levels, certainly, but you guys know I’ve reached my peak,” he admitted.

Hamlin claims he paid back Chastain

In July at Pocono, Hamlin made headlines for what happened after the race when NASCAR disqualified him for failing post-race inspection and took away his victory. Something else notable happened in the race’s final stage. 

On a restart at the front with 18 laps remaining, the No. 11 car, running on the inside lane, escorted the Trackhouse car out of the groove in Turn 1. Chastain hit the wall, and on the rebound, took a big hit to the rear of his car from Kevin Harvick before sliding through the rest of the cars into the infield wall. 

He was done for the day and offered his perspective to NBC’s Parker Kligerman after his visit to the infield care center.

“Oh Parker, I think that’s something that’s been owed to me for a few months now,” the Trackhouse driver admitted. 

After the race, NBC’s Marty Snider questioned Hamlin about the incident. “Was that straight payback?” the reporter asked. 

“What’d you want me to do? What’d you expect me to do?” Hamlin responded. “We got position on him and he just ran out of race track.” 

TJ Majors reveals what Chastain said about Hamlin 

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While Hamlin asserted the Pocono incident was a sort of payback and Chastain understandably wanted to attribute that move as revenge so he could move on and not worry about it in the future, the majority opinion, including that of Chase Elliott, was that it was not retaliation but a racing incident. 

The guys from the Door Bumper Clear podcast were of that opinion, and Bubba Wallace’s spotter Freddie Kraft even called Dale Earnhardt Jr. an “idiot” for suggesting otherwise. The NASCAR Hall of Famer called into the show and had a humorous conversation, hilariously suggesting Hamlin used a scalpel instead of a hammer in the move. 

The topic interestingly came up this week during a special Christmas episode of DBC following one of the show listener’s songs dedicated to the driver conflict. At the conclusion of the music, TJ Majors brought up an intriguing conversation he had with the watermelon farmer during the middle of the tensions with Hamlin. 

“You know what Ross told me, like after the second incident?” Brad Keselowski’s spotter posed to his fellow co-hosts. “He looked at me and said, ‘Nobody is going to do anything.’ He couldn’t have been more right.”

“He was right,” Kraft confirmed. 

Denny Hamlin. The ball is in your court.