Ross Chastain quells feuds, speaks with rivals before Sonoma

Ross Chastain is focused on moving forward at Sonoma Raceway this weekend after some chaotic excursions one week ago.

Chastain found himself at odds with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott, among others, after aggressive driving from the No. 1 Chevrolet’s pilot resulted in separate incidents with Hamlin and Elliott at World Wide Technology Raceway.

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Ahead of Cup Series practice at Sonoma on Saturday, Chastain confirmed he spoke with both drivers and is ready to move on.

“I’ve talked to all parties involved and yeah, I believe I should be in this car and I believe that I did make a mistake and I hit Denny too hard,” Chastain told FS1. “But I’m not the first guy to do that. I hit him way too hard. I hate that I took him out of the day. But we had a good conversation and whatever happens happens. I’m here to go fast and I feel like the best way that I can hurt their feelings more is to take our Worldwide Express car and just go fast.”

Hamlin told reporters he and Chastain did have a conversation but declined to elaborate on the extent of that discussion.

“I think he knows where I stand,” Hamlin said.

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Elliott, taken out of contention at Gateway after his spin was initiated by Chastain, waited for Chastain to reach out and was left satisfied with their talk.

“He is fast and they have a lot of pace,” Elliott said of Chastain. “And he’s gonna be just as successful with that pace that he has if he’s just a little more mindful of the positions he puts himself and others in at points of the race that don’t matter as much. That was really all I had to say.”

Whether things remain pleasant between the two drivers going forward, Elliott said, it’s Chastain’s decision.

“I think that’s up to him,” said Elliott, the 2020 Cup champion. “I tried to take the high road and talk to him as if I would want somebody to talk to me. I just tried to give him my opinion. He can take it or leave it or whatever he wants to do.”

Elliott will start second in Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma with Chastain third. Hamlin rolls off 10th.