Noah Gragson finally had enough of Ross Chastain and decided to do something about it.
Chastain, who has drawn the ire of many NASCAR drivers this season with his aggressiveness on the track, found himself in a heated confrontation with Gragson at the Kansas Cup, which was held at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., on Sunday.
He had gotten into it with Gragson with about 60 laps to go and sent him for a spin, and Gragson walked up to the Trackhouse Racing driver afterward to make his displeasure known.
Gragson put his hands on Chastain, who responded with a sweeping right hook that appeared to connect.
Gragson tried to return the punch, but he was pulled away by security and NASCAR officials.
“I’m sick and tired of it,” Gragson said of Chastain’s driving style. “The guy runs into everyone. When you have guys like Chase Elliott and other guys telling you to beat his ass, everyone is just sick of him.”
Denny Hamlin won the race, Chastain was fifth and Gragson was 29th.
Chastain accepted some of the blame for the spin but didn’t have much to say about the punch.
“I got tight off four for sure,” Chastain said. “Noah and I have a very similar attitude on the race track. We train together, we prepare together, we know every little bit about each other. I definitely crowded him out of four.”
This didn’t appear to be the first time Chastain had done something to anger Gragson on the track.
In a post-race interview on the track, Gragson said Chastain also “took care of us Talladega.”
“We’re Chevrolet teammates,” Gragson said. “Didn’t work with us there and then fenced us here and I’m just over it. Nobody else has the balls to at least confront him. So if you at least don’t grab him and do something, he’s just gonna keep doing it. I’m over it. It’s the second time.”
Kyle Busch had railed against Chastain over the radio before crashing out of the race on a restart.
Afterward, Busch seemed to take aim at the performance of the Next Gen car, which he said made it too difficult to pass.
“Not racing like it once used to be,” he said after dropping an on-air expletive. “You’re faster than a guy, you run him down three-tenths a lap and you stall when you get there. Part of it’s the car. They can aero block you, pinch you, burn up your tires and do everything else to hold their position and then you get passed from behind. Very frustrating.”
— with AP