OBSERVATIONS: UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway

There’s always talk about the action picking up when it is playoff time, and that is certainly appearing to be the case in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series as they started off their post-season with a bang.

Throughout the entire UNOH 200, the playoff drivers were mixing it up with not only each other, but their fellow competitors on the track. Nobody appeared to be giving each other an inch, with bumps being traded throughout the field, and some going around as a result. 

The fans have been asking for the old Bristol to come back, and if Thursday night is any indication, they got their wish. It’s easy to see why they wanted the bottom groove to be prime real estate as sparks flew, with drama throughout the night.

Certainly the drivers who grew up running tracks of this style with a rough edge to their driving enjoy it. Just ask Ross Chastain.

“That’s what built this place,” he said. “You come through this tunnel, and there’s talk about rattling cages, there’s helmets thrown. If we’re going to fill these places up, the CarShield Chevy’s going to be the one that adds to the excitement.”

He certainly made true on that promise, certainly throwing his elbows up each time he got the chance. He ran up inside the top-five from the drop of the green flag until the pit crew was deemed for “too many men over the wall.” Restarting at the tail of the field, he made his way up through the field – aggressively with his fair share of bump and runs for his competitors in the process, ultimately spinning Raphael Lessard.

His driving wasn’t well received post-race, as he was met by a couple crew members of Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“I think the crew chiefs come down here and puff their chests out—they’re old washed-up race car drivers,” Chastain said. “I love Marcus (Richmond) and Rudy (Fugle), but, my goodness, let your drivers come handle it. And one at a time, line ‘em up, and let’s race. And let’s handle it after, outside the race car.”

Chastain’s aggressive nature has been put under the microscope before, with other competitors in the garage area expressing their opinions. It also resulted in Justin Allgaier spinning him in an NASCAR Xfinity Series race following contact. 

Well it’s clear that he knows how to dish it, it could easily come back to bite him. Kyle Busch Motorsports doesn’t have a truck in the playoffs, but they could affect the outcome if they resort to payback for Chastain. It could also easily be someone else.

Does Chastain want his aggressive fellow competitors to be the reason why he doesn’t complete his ultimate Watermelon Man Challenge of winning the championship? 

But rest assured, he is not the only playoff driver in the midst of controversy with Stewart Friesen and Matt Crafton trading jabs at each other during the event. Both competitors finished in the top-10, and talked about their differences following the event. Experience tells them to make sure feuds are put to bed, right?



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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.