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November 5, 2017

Brendan Gaughan, Ross Chastain tussle after XFINITY race

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A hundred feet away from the bright lights and post-race driver interviews on pit road, two NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers — veteran Brendan Gaughan and Ross Chastain — were having a discussion of their own that turned physical following Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

After trading paint amid frustrating, close-quarter racing for much of the night, the two drivers took their on-track feud off the track. With their cars parked alongside one another, literally in the shadows behind Victory Lane, both drivers said punches were thrown and there was plenty of shoving as multiple crew members from both teams got involved.

Neither driver said he was hurt after the incident and certainly the stories varied by the storyteller, as to who started the situation. Gaughan finished with the upper hand on the race scoreboard, finishing 17th in his No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet while Chastain was 19th.

“I’m getting ready for the radio show tomorrow morning and if anyone wants to know my thoughts, Chase Elliott is a lock for the week and my value pick is Ty Dillon and I’m heading to Mexico,” said Gaughan, offering his fantasy picks for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and obviously avoiding the subject with reporters after walking out of the NASCAR hauler following a discussion with the sanctioning body.

On his show Sunday morning, Gaughan said: “It isn’t the first issue that we’ve had or the first issue that others have had and I finally just had enough. It is what it is. We move on, and life goes on and racing goes on. … Nothing other than grown men being grown men.”

Chastain remained in the hauler a little longer and when he emerged was open to discussing the situation — noting several times that he races hard in his No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet and wishing that was what the group of reporters had gathered to speak to him about.

“Race with him every week and we probably could have handled it a little better,” said Chastain, who is ranked 13th in the season championship with two races remaining. “But this is NASCAR man. I hate that my name pops up in the news for this. People that know me know this is not me to be getting in arguments and stuff.

“I was calm. It would make me look better if there had been cameras. Some derogatory things were said beyond just cuss words. I’ll go on to Phoenix and I’ll just race him. This doesn’t help me moving up in my career but I’ll just have to work harder to show them this isn’t who I am. I’m on my way up and I’m just going to go race.”

A NASCAR spokesman said no penalties were levied against either driver Saturday night but did not rule out further action after the sanctioning body finds and reviews any video showing the confrontation.