As much as NASCAR needs its good guys, it also needs its bad guys. Today's bad guy looks to be Ross Chastain. And, according to one former NASCAR driver, Chastain has no reason to change what he is doing out on the track.
Kyle Petty, the son of Richard Petty who raced for 30 years in the Cup Series, shared his thoughts on Chastain's recent incident at Kansas Speedway and came to the defense of the Trackhouse Racing driver in a recent video. Petty, who now works for NBC Sports, thinks that some of the more critical fans and pundits need to "get off of Ross Chastain's back," while also comparing him to a few of the sport's greatest legends.
"Most recently, he is what Joey Logano was," Petty said. "If we go back a number of years, everybody loved to complain about Joey Logano. If we go back in my time — I'm going to say Darrell Waltrip, I'm going to say Dale Earnhardt Sr., I'm going to say Ernie Irvan, I'm going to say say a lot of guys. Because what happens is, when you have a new guy running at the sharp end of the stick — what I mean is, winning races and challenging the establishment — people are going to complain."
Petty hit the nail on the head with this take, as all of the drivers he named were known for racing aggressively — whether it was Dale Earnhardt Sr. giving you a nudge to rattle your cage or Joey Logano blocking lanes aggressively. Ross Chastain doesn't seem to be any different.
"There was a race last year that Christopher Bell complained that Ross Chastain did something to him, and Ross Chastain was not even on the same straightaway, people," Petty continued. "Get off of Ross Chastain's back."
Chastain might be a driver in the wrong era, according to Petty.
"Here's the deal: Ross Chastain drives like Richard Petty, like Cale Yarborough, like Dale Earnhardt Sr. did in a lot of ways, like Joey Logano does," Petty said. "He has one purpose: it's to win the race. He didn't come to make friends. He didn't come to bake you a cake, to sing happy birthday to you, to hang out with you in the bus lot. He came to take your trophy and to take your money."
Chastain can be aggressive, and Kyle Petty sees nothing wrong with that.
It sure seems as if the rest of the Cup Series needs to take a page out of Chastain's book and just stop complaining. He did finish runner-up in the 2022 standings, and he is the current points leader. Maybe the other drivers need to focus a little more on their own racing instead of complaining about Chastain's
Like it or not, the Melon Man isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
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