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Hamlin and Chastain Tangle Again at Pocono

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, July 25 2022

Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at Pocono on Sunday, but he didn’t get to keep it. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senor Writer
RacinToday.com

LONG POND, Pa. – Ross Chastain said Sunday he wasn’t surprised when Denny Hamlin ran him high and into the wall as they dueled for the lead on a restart late in Sunday’s M&Ms Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway.

“I had that one coming,” Chastain said after finishing 32nd following the disqualification of Hamlin and Kyle Busch as the race winner and runner-up, respectively. “If I would have raced smarter two months ago, I probably would have had plenty of room off Turn 1. I’ve realized that for the last month or two. It’s just too late for that, so … I’ll go on to Indy. Actions speak louder than words.” 

The incident occurred on lap 143 of the 160-lap race when the event restarted following the eighth of nine caution flags at the 2.5-mile track. Chastain was leading at the time and chose the outside for the restart. Hamlin, who was second, took the inside lane, putting him beside Chastain. When they exited turn one, Hamlin forced Chastain high. Chastain slammed the wall, came back across the track and caught the front end of Kevin Harvick’s Ford. Christopher Bell also was involved in the incident.

Hamlin, who was booed by fans after climbing from his car, asked, “What did you expect me to do?”

“We got position on him, and he just ran out of race track,” Hamlin said. 

“We’re just going to keep racing hard until we get the respect back from these guys. We’ve been wrecked four times, twice while leading in the last 10 months. I’m at the end of it.”

Chastain said when Hamlin chose the inside line for the restart he knew “I wasn’t going to be the aggressor.”

“I know my actions bear consequences, so for a month or two I’ve known that I have stepped over the line and wrecked him so he decided to return it today,” Chastain said with a calm voice after emerging from the infield care center. 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, July 25 2022
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