Harvick and Chastain were side-by-side for the lead with less than 45 laps in the race. Harvick was under Chastain. Harvick’s car slid up and that sent Chastain into the wall. Chastain’s car came back down and hit Harvick’s car in the right rear, spinning Harvick.
“Just trying to race,” Chastain said of the contact. “We had given each other room all day. It’s unfortunate.”
He denied intentionally wrecking Harvick in the right rear in retaliation.
“I was out of control after I got put in the fence,” Chastain said. “We hit the wall hard. Can’t believe we were able to finish. … In my experience, most race cars after taking a hit like that wouldn’t have finished.”
Chastain continued. He finished 25th. Harvick was done for the day. Harvick drove to Chastain’s pits and stopped his car briefly before driving back to the garage.
Harvick told NBC of the incident with Chastain: “I tried to stay as low as I could and he just rode on my door. That’s just a really inexperienced racer and a really bad move there and got the air and got on beside me and just kept going up the race track. I couldn’t do anything with the wheel.
“So, you’ve got a really inexperienced guy in a really fast car and made a really bad move, and then wrecked me down the back straightaway and hooked me to the right. That’s probably the reason that he’ll never get to drive many of them again.”
After reading Harvick’s comments, Chastain had little to say: “Nothing I say is going to help.”
A few minutes later, Chastain said he would talk with Harvick at some point. Asked if he was hurt by what Harvick said, Chastain said: “I don’t care what he says.”
Chastain, who typically races for JD Motorsports, was in his first race of a three-race deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, to drive that team’s No. 42 car. Chastain started on the pole for the first time in his career and won the first two stages. This was his 130th career Xfinity start.
Chastain, 25, was making his 130th career Xfinity start. He has spent much of his career with lower-funded teams. The Ganassi ride was viewed as a chance for him to show more people what he can do. He won the pole, his first career series pole. He won the first two stages.
“This was a win for every short track racer running fast trucks, pro trucks, late models across the country that you can just race and as long as you can stay in the car and progress up the ranks, however fast or slow it is going to be, or whatever your situation is, … as long as you keep racing, it will pay off one day.”
So what was it like for him before his incident?
“It was really cool, man,” Chastain said. “I was smiling inside the car the whole time. It’s just cool to be able to learn so quickly with (Chip Ganassi Racing). They got me up to speed so quick. It’s a product of racing every week since I was 13 years old, every chance I got, no matter good, bad or ugly, I did it.”