Ross Chastain resists Denny Hamlin’s comments


Ross Chastain (left) disputed some of Denny Hamlin’s comments.

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick made several comments about safety issues and the next generation car. They were the most vocal drivers, but Ross Chastain said they were “not horns” in the entire garage.

Chastain made comments after taking fourth place in the YellaWood 500. He said there have been talks going on about how to make cars safer and that the chase never stops. Chastain also provided a special reason for his relative silence on safety issues.

“They don’t speak for all of us in whatever they say,” Chastain told the assembled media. “I know they…Denny says, ‘Look, these guys are just silent because they’re happy to be here,'” but we have our thoughts, too. I know I do.

“Everything he says isn’t the mouthpiece of the entire garage. Sometimes, saying a little is more too, and there’s a better way to do that than just doing it.”

“Glad to be here” comments refer to a statement Hamlin made during his media presence at the Talladega Superspeedway on October 1. He said young drivers don’t talk about safety because they are “just happy to be here”. They won’t be happy, he added, when their “brains are scrambling.”

Team owner weight in safety discussions

Ross Chastain

GTRoss Chastain stops at Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR executives and drivers have been the most vocal in the ongoing debate about the next generation car and what changes can be made. The team owners didn’t have many opportunities to make an impact, but the winner made some comments.

Rick Hendrick met members of the media after Chase Elliott won the qualifying race at Talladega Superspeedway. He offered a possible timeline for Alex Bowman’s return from a concussion, and also made it clear that he would be willing to spend any costs to improve the safety of the next-generation car.

“Our drivers are very important, we don’t want them to get hurt,” Hendrik said. “So, if that meant buying all the new clips Monday morning, I would. I’d be happy to do it. We want them safe. Whether it’s Alex, Kurt Busch, it’s tough. So I’m whatever it takes.”

“I think the teams can fix it. If NASCAR wants to do that, I think everyone is working together, we can do it in a hurry, test it, and get it to the cars ASAP.”

Other drivers have taken positions on this matter

Hamlin and Harvick were by far the most vocal drivers on safety concerns. Martin Truex Jr. has spoken publicly about the quality of the parts during qualifying for 2022. Meanwhile, Chastain and some of the younger drivers have remained relatively calm on the subject.

Elliott, the most famous driver, surprised some members of the media on October 1 when he made some strong comments about how NASCAR has “fallen behind” in terms of safety. This seemed out of the ordinary to him considering he’s one of the quietest people in the garage, but in fact it might have a bigger impact on the conversation.

“I think these guys are worried. He sees one of his teammates injured,” Hendrick said. “He saw Kurt in pain. He is a young man with a career ahead. Nobody wants to do something they can fix and eliminate.

“I think that was on Chase’s mind. I’m proud of him. He doesn’t say much, but when he does talk, everyone knows he hasn’t exploded, and he’s anxious.”


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