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Ross Chastain gives his side of Brendan Gaughan tangle, says he was hit in back of head

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The war of words that followed the scuffle between Ross Chastain and Brendan Gaughan after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Texas continued Tuesday morning.

Gaughan gave his side of the incident on Sunday during the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio “Fantasy Racing Preview” show, which he co-hosts.

Tuesday, Chastain appeared on TMD and said he was hit several times by Gaughan and several members of his team, including being blindsided and punched at least once in the back of the head.

Chastain also revealed that a crew member for teammate Garrett Smithley – which Chastain did not identify – was punched in the back of the head and taken to a local hospital. Chastain said the crew member was back in the shop working Tuesday.

Here’s Chastain’s side of the story:

“When we pulled down off the track, for some reason we pulled behind victory lane, which didn’t help things because it was dark and no lights back there,” Chastain said. “As I was getting out of the car, I was kind of surprised to see him (Gaughan) and a legion of RCR guys. I thought there was only a couple when I first looked.

“By the time he had me by the neck, I was still coming out of the car with my feet in my race seat and I was sitting on the door, I realized there was about 20 guys there surrounded us, and I had three guys at the time.

“It was ugly. It was not something that was pretty to think back on. They definitely had the numbers and it showed. I had a couple guys from the 0 car (Smithley) jump in to help, and I’m thankful for that.

“They really did keep me and my guys from probably getting hurt to any extent.”

Chastain thought things had ended at that point, only to see them resume.

“We thought we had it calmed down and I got hit in the back of the head and taken down into a golf cart and rolled around a lot,” Chastain said. “I don’t know if it was just fists or stomped on a little bit. That’s pretty scary stuff. Definitely had a lot of things going through my mind at that point on how to get out of that situation.

“But a lot of things flash before your eyes when that’s happening. Luckily, some of my guys came back, realized where I was at because we all got separated there in the darkness and the crowd of people, and got me out of that situation. That was relieving to see their faces. That was pretty much it there.

“A lot happened real quick and definitely not impressed by the amount of people that came down there with Brendan and went to wailing. I got hit in the back of my head and one of the 0 guys did, as well.

“It’s some scary stuff, for sure. I’m glad the cameras weren’t there because that’s not the kind of publicity the sport needs at all. I’m all for arguments and stuff, but it was ugly and that’s not something I want people seeing.”

NASCAR officials called both drivers to the hauler after the incident, but officials did not make any statements regarding the two drivers.

Of his tangle with Chastain, Gaughan said on SiriusXM, “It isn’t the first issue that we’ve had and the first issue that others have had (with Chastain), and I finally just had enough. Should I have done something differently? Maybe, but at this point in my life, I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.”

Brendan Gaughan on issue with Ross Chastain: ‘I finally just had enough’

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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FORT WORTH, Texas — Brendan Gaughan admits  he could have handled his disagreement with Ross Chastain after Saturday night’s Xfinity race differently but said Sunday “at this point in my life, I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.’’

Gaughan and Chastain were involved in a scuffle after the race. Both were called to the NASCAR hauler and met with series officials.

Gaughan deflected questions about the scuffle after leaving the hauler. Sunday morning, he spoke about the incident on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio “Fantasy Racing Preview” show he co-hosts.

“Texas is tough,’’ Gaughan said on the show. “With the night race, the groove narrowed down. It isn’t the first issue that we’ve had and the first issue that others have had (with Chastain), and I finally just had enough. Should I have done something differently? Maybe, but at this point in my life I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.’’

Chastain said after the race that issues started when he and Gaughan were racing together.

“There was a slow car we were passing on the backstretch and (Gaughan) tried to split the middle,’’ Chastain said. “I wasn’t going to let him because it’s so much track position, there was clean track in front of us. We stayed side-by-side into (Turn) 3. I tried to arc from the bottom, and he tried to pinch me.

“I got really loose, saved it. All good. From then on, he was out to wreck me. My spotter could tell. (Gaughan) tried to get me in (Turns) 1 and 2.

“That’s just not acceptable. The speeds we’re going, we’ve seen guys get upside down in the catch fence on purpose before. I do not want to collect on my life insurance policy at 24 years old. That was my biggest thing in the (NASCAR) trailer, that I was upset with that needed to be taken care of.’’

Chastain said Gaughan approached him as he was exiting his car behind pit road after the race.

“I was just getting out of the car and was sitting on the door and was getting ready to swing my legs out and there he was,’’ Chastain said of Gaughan. “He just came right at me with his guys. There were just swings from that point on.’’

Said Gaughan on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “These millennials, they love to talk and text. I believe in this. This was taught to me by Butch Miller and Parnelli Jones, by some of the old greats, that if you have a problem, you make sure you get eye-to-eye contact, let them know you’ve got a problem, let them know it was intentional, accidental, whatever.’’

Gaughan said he’s heard from other competitors after the incident.

“I’ve got a lot of text messages from a lot of our peers that seem to be happy,’’ Gaughan said.

“There’s a lot of guys that don’t see eye-to-eye with Ross.’’

Chastain admits he might not be the most popular in the garage but also notes he’s not going after a popularity title.

“I race hard,’’ Chastain said. “I understand that. I know I make drivers mad. I know I make crew chiefs mad, guys thinking that I don’t get out of the way enough. It’s really hard out there to get out of the way. It’s hard for me to do that and go back to (sponsor) Flex Seal and tell them I did 100 percent and I tried to get the best finish.’’

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NASCAR meets with Brendan Gaughan, Ross Chastain after scuffle

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway
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FORT WORTH, Texas — NASCAR met with drivers Ross Chastain and Brendan Gaughan after they were involved in a scuffle following Saturday night’s Xfinity race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The incident happened behind pit road and victory lane where non-playoff cars parked after the race.

“I was just getting out of the car and was sitting on the door and was getting ready to swing my legs out and there he was,’’ Chastain said of Gaughan. “He just came right at me with his guys. There were just swings from that point on.’’

Gaughan declined to discuss the incident when asked about it. Asked if he threw a right hook, Gaughan said: “I’m a lefty” and walked away.

Chastain said “there were no cameras (of the incident) … it would make me look better if there was, but, unfortunately, I’m sure there wasn’t for the start. Some derogatory things were said beyond just cuss words.’’

Chastain wouldn’t say what was said to him.

Chastain said what happened on track led to the off-track incident.

“There was a slow car we were passing on the backstretch and (Gaughan) tried to split the middle,’’ Chastain said. “I wasn’t going to let him because it’s so much track position, there was clean track in front of us. We stayed side-by-side into (Turn) 3. I tried to arc from the bottom, and he tried to pinch me.

“I got really loose, saved it. All good. From then on, he was out to wreck me. My spotter could tell. (Gaughan) tried to get me in (Turns) 1 and 2.

“That’s just not acceptable. The speeds we’re going, we’ve seen guys get upside down in the catch fence on purpose before. I do not want to collect on my life insurance policy at 24 years old. That was my biggest thing in the (NASCAR) trailer, that I was upset with that needed to be taken care of.

“The off-the-track stuff, hey, I’ll go out anywhere and do what we need to do to defend myself and my crew. The on-track is unacceptable at 180 mph.’’

NASCAR had no comment on the matter. It continues to investigate the incident after speaking to both drivers and others involved.

Gaughan finished 17th. Chastain finished 19th.

In April, Chastain punched Jeremy Clements during a red flag in the Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chastain said he reacted with a punch when Clements grabbed him from behind and spun him around.

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NASCAR America: Brendan Gaughan Unplugged

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Xfinity driver Brendan Gaughan, who was narrowly eliminated from playoff contention last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was a guest on Tuesday’s NASCAR America and had much to say.

Among the topics Gaughan discussed:

Being eliminated from the playoffs: “Everybody tried. If we were a little bit better, guess what? We wouldn’t have been in this position. It’s alright. That’s the way life goes.”

On what race he looked back and wondered where he could have gained an extra spot:”You can do that and you’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy. … Life is what it is. Things happen in life and you roll with the punches. I still sit here smiling. I still love what I do.”

His future: “I know I’m going to run those four (Cup) races for Mark Beard and … the 75 car at the restrictor plates. I know I’m going to do that. I’ve already told them I’ll be back to do those races. … I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the Xfinity Series yet. I have a home at Richard (Childress Racing) and I told Richard I don’t plan on leaving until I’m done. We’re still not 100 percent lined up with what we’re going to do.”

Gaughan discusses many other subjects. Check out what he has to say in the video above.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Scan All, looking ahead to Talladega and more

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Krista Voda hosts with Jeff Burton and Nate Ryan from NBC Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • The only driver not worried about Talladega is Martin Truex Jr., who’s on to the Round of 8 after his win at Charlotte. With the pressure gone for now, Truex and his team can focus on finally mastering superspeedway racing. We’ll hear what crew chief Cole Pearn had to say about this weekend’s challenge.
  • Xfintiy Series driver Brendan Gaughan joins the show from Las Vegas to talk about his season and how he & fellow drivers from Vegas have worked to help their hometown heal.
  • Denny Hamlin discusses his strategy for Talladega in a 1-on-1 interview with Marty Snider that includes a new paint scheme for the upcoming playoff race at Martinsville.
  • And we will take one more listen to all the action of Sunday’s race from drivers, crew chiefs and spotters when we Scan All: Charlotte.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.