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June 10, 2024

Ross Chastain, Kyle Busch on opposite ends of final-lap fender flare-up at Sonoma


A last-lap tangle between Ross Chastain and Kyle Busch capped an eventful day of full-contact racing at Sonoma Raceway, and the two Chevrolet drivers came away with differing outcomes and viewpoints from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event.

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Contact between the two drivers in a contest for fifth place sent Busch’s No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy spinning in Turn 4A, just before the 1.99-mile road course’s chute. Busch recovered for a 12th-place finish, his fourth consecutive finish outside the top 10.

RELATED: Sonoma results | Cup Series standings

“We lost track position but our strategy kept us in the game,” said Busch, whose winless streak reached 37 races. “A couple of guys there at the end of the race had better tires than we did but we were going to have a good day. Unfortunately, one of those guys got into us on the last lap and ruined our day. It’s frustrating to not get the finish that we deserved.”

Chastain continued in the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet to his first top-five finish since March, but admitted post-race that he was still trying to digest the strategy shake-up that left him out of contention for the victory, which went to a charging Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott’s final-turn bump for position briefly knocked Chastain from the top five, but he moved back up in the final order to fifth after both drivers blasted by a fuel-dry Martin Truex Jr. just before the checkered flag.

“I’m not sure what happened with the 8, either, I’ll be honest,” Chastain told NASCAR.com. “I’m pretty confused about most things here, but he checked up down into (Turn) 4A. I popped out to not hit him and then I locked up getting in there to his right. So definitely not trying to run into him, and then I get run into by the 9 (Elliott) for a spot in (Turn) 11. Lot of (Chevrolet) bowties running together today. Glad one of them got the win.”

Kyle Busch’s wife, Samantha, had her own assessment of the final-lap clash in a post-race message shared on X.

Chastain moved up one spot in the provisional standings for the Cup Series Playoffs field. Busch jumped up by two spots, but is still slotted as the first driver outside of the postseason Field of 16 — eight points back of Bubba Wallace.

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