Ross Chastain is having the best season of his career, but that hasn't come without the Trackhouse Racing driver stirring up a lot of bad blood along the way. With two wins and 10 top-five finishes in the Cup Series this year, Chastain is projected to come into the playoffs with a No. 3 ranking. He'll do so with a superspeedway-sized target on his back.
As Kyle Larson aptly described it in an interview last week, Chastain seemingly has a "two-page list" of enemies, as he's found himself beefing with everyone from Denny Hamlin to Chase Elliott. His feud with Hamlin may have generated the most buzz so far, but the former watermelon farmer from Alva, Florida has actually managed to get into it with every member of Joe Gibbs Racing. That's right, Chastain has gone and pissed off every driver on a four-driver racing team. Now, that's almost impressive.
After making contact with Hamlin at the Gateway and Atlanta races (Hamlin got revenge at Pocono), Chastain wrecked Christopher Bell at Michigan and also had himself a two-for-the-price-of-one incident at Richmond when he took out both Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Chastain may be making the most out of a super-fast Chevy, but he's also been showing his relative inexperience by playing an absolutely terrible political game. Being able to avoid unnecessary confrontation is something you learn over time, which the 42-year-old Truex, who has nearly 20 years in the sport's highest level, understands better than most drivers in the Cup Series.
Ahead of last Sunday's race at Watkins Glen, Truex decided to give the 29-year-old Chastain some unsolicited and blunt, yet probably warranted advice that could serve him well in the coming races.
"Get your s*** together," Truex told Outkick. "We're supposed to be professionals, get it together. We're the best in the world. I'm not sure what the deal is, but it's been over and over and over this year. I don't know if he has a beef with someone at JGR that I don't know about, or if someone did him wrong along the way, but he's had his share (of contact) with most of the field pretty much."
While Chastain has a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, he's put together a streak of lackluster performances, finishing 32nd at Pocono, 27th at Indianapolis, 24th at Michigan, 18th at Richmond, and 21st at Watkins Glen. Things will only get harder for Chastain come September once the playoffs are in full swing. Kyle Larson, for one, certainly isn't envious of Chastain's current position.
"I can't imagine with everyone that seems to be upset with him that it will be an easy playoff for him," Larson said last week.
We'll have to wait and see whether Ross Chastain will be able to withstand the rogues' gallery of drivers looking to take him out, or if karma will end up ruining his standout season.
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