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NASCAR Cup Series: Ross Chastain Silences His Critics in Nashville

Amidst heavy criticism in recent weeks, Ross Chastain proved the doubters wrong with his third career victory in the NASCAR Cup Series

Since his emergence in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ross Chastain’s aggressive driving has been a hot topic. Six weeks ago he was called out by Rick Hendrick after a crash with Kyle Larson at Darlington. Hendrick’s comments raised questions about how fruitful Chastain’s driving style truly is.

He is quick enough to run at the front but had only won twice in 167 races heading into Sunday. After Darlington Chastain was not even running well anymore, including two finishes of 22nd. Doubts that he could maintain success without being overly aggressive began to creep in.

That changed in Nashville as Ross Chastain ended his 42-race winless streak. Not only did he win the race, Chastain also picked up his first NASCAR Cup Series pole which set the tone for an emotional weekend. It was clear in his interviews that Chastain had taken the criticism to heart. All of that emotion came pouring out as he explained what this win means to win. Ross Chastain showed everybody that he doesn’t need to be controversial to be successful in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Martin Truex Jr. is on a roll

Martin Truex Jr. continued his run as the hottest driver in the NASCAR Cup Series with a runner-up finish in Nashville. It was his fourth top-five in as many races and extended his lead in the point standings. The good finishes aren’t only coming from what Truex Jr. is doing on the track.

His pit crew has been almost flawless in recent weeks. Crew chief James Small has made great strategic calls which have been an issue for this team in the past. All of which has resulted in an 18-point lead over William Byron and Ross Chastain who are tied for second. With 15 points for the regular season champion and nine races remaining before the playoffs, Martin Truex Jr. is peaking at the perfect time.

Erik Jones picks up top 10

Finishing 8th on Sunday was as good as a win for Erik Jones. This NASCAR Cup Series season has been a massive struggle for Legacy Motor Club. Neither Jones nor teammate Noah Gragson have had the results they expected coming into the season. Especially Jones who won a race last year and finished the season 16th in points. Nashville seems to have been a turning point for the team as they were fast enough to race in the top 10. Jones said after the race he thinks this speed can be sustainable throughout the rest of the year.

Featured image credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports


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