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October 1, 2023

Ross Chastain ousted from Talladega playoff race after Stage 1 crash

Ross Chastain was involved in a Lap 60 crash in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, jeopardizing his hopes to advance in the NASCAR Playoffs.

Entering Turn 3 on the final lap of Stage 1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. appeared to run out of fuel while leading the outside lane of cars. That slowed Kyle Busch, another postseason contender, who was just behind Stenhouse. As the pair slowed, Busch darted left to avoid Stenhouse and clipped Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet. Chastain spun into the SAFER barrier and incurred significant damage to his right-front fender and suspension, then was hit by Christopher Bell — yet another playoff contender.

MORE: Race results | At-track photos: Talladega

Chastain drove his Trackhouse Racing entry to the garage before being evaluated and released from the infield care center.

“Yeah, saw some slow and tagging the fence, and obviously they were that much slower, I should have just stayed in behind them,” Chastain said. “Four-wide wasn’t … obviously was not the right call. I saw a hole and just tried to slide through there. Wished I wouldn’t have.”

Chastain entered Sunday’s race 12 points above the elimination line with only one race remaining in the Round of 12. Four drivers will be eliminated from postseason contention following next week’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course on Sunday, Oct. 8 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).

WATCH: In-car: Chastain wreck at Talladega

“Whatever we bring next week, we’ll put our best foot forward,” said Chastain, who advanced to the Championship 4 last season. “As long as I get to drive these rocket ships that Trackhouse brings me, I’m living my dream, and we’ll keep fighting.”

Chastain was credited with a 37th-place finish with one point scored, ahead only of Kevin Harvick, whose No. 4 Ford was disqualified upon failing post-race technical inspection. Chastain enters the Charlotte road course 11th in points, 10 markers shy of the provisional elimination line.

Bell, Stenhouse and Busch were able to continue toward finishes of 14th, 22nd and 25th, respectively.