Kyle Larson didn’t say much after his latest incident with Ross Chastain, but his car owner did.
Rick Hendrick, who fields cars for four drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series including Larson, took up for his driver after he was involved in a late-race incident with Chastain at Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Chastain was involved in a late-race wreck with Larson as the two battled for the lead during the final three laps of the race. The wreck ended both of their chances for the win as Larson’s teammate, William Byron, capitalized on the two’s misfortune to win the race.
“He doesn’t have to be that aggressive,” Hendrick said. “… You just don’t have to run people in the fence. He is going to make a lot of enemies. It is hard to win a championship when you got a lot of paybacks out there. He has got so much talent if he would just calm down. He has got a lot of talent, but he is making a lot of enemies.
“It is really getting old with those guys.”
Chastain, who led for 93 laps, finished 29th, and Larson ended up coming in 20th. Larson was going for the weekend sweep after winning the Xfinity race on Saturday.
This wasn’t the first incident between Larson and Chastain as the two were involved in wrecks at Dover and Talladega.
““Makes that three races now he’s taken us out of. Chevrolet, good job. Good job. That’s three races that No. 1 car has taken us out of.,” Larson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels said on the team’s radio.
Chastain seems to be in the middle of an incident on a regular basis. Last week, he and Noah Gragson were involved in a post-race fight on pit road. Chastain said earlier this week that two had patched things up.
Chastain also was involved in an on-track incident with Denny Hamlin this season, as well. Christopher Bell called Chastain “a wrecking ball” after they were involved in an on-track incident in Richmond. Chastain even made a splash early in the race when he and Martin Truex Jr. collided right before the end of Stage 2, damaging and frustrating Truex, who had spent most of Sunday’s race dominating it.
On Sunday, Chastain was leading the race and chose the inside line on the restart and tried to move Larson up on the track as they went into Turn 2, but Chastain’s car ended up coming across the nose of Larson’s No. 5 car.
“I got really tight and drove up and turned myself. I wanted to squeeze him and wanted to push him up. We have been going back and forth all day,” Chastain told reporters after the race. “I wanted to push him up for sure, but I didn’t want to turn myself.”
Chastain was asked what Larson might think of Sunday’s wreck and sidestepped the question.
“I am the one here talking to you,” he said.
Larson didn’t talk to reporters after the race but was obviously frustrated on his radio.
Byron, who benefited from the accident, thinks Chastain has crossed the line in a few incidents this year.
“Some of the things I have seen feel like they are a little bit over the line,” Byron said. “It has to come down a little bit. There is a certain point where wrecking isn’t the answer.”