NASCAR Crew Chief Defends Ross Chastain’s Playoff ‘Video-Game’ Move



  • Ross Chastain set the NASCAR world on fire with his wild stunt to clinch a spot in the championship.
  • Not all drivers were happy with the ‘video-game move,’ saying it set a bad precedent.
  • Larry McReynolds disagrees, saying Chastain did nothing wrong and everybody should just enjoy it.

Ross Chastain set the NASCAR world on fire with his “video-game move” in Sunday’s playoff race, and while some weren’t happy, one long-time crew chief had some strong words for the party poopers.

Larry McReynolds, a NASCAR crew chief and Fox Sports analyst, made appearances on FS1’s “NASCAR Race Hub” and SiriusXM Radio and explained why Chastain did nothing wrong, why NASCAR doesn’t need a rule to stop it in the future, and how the fun police need to just enjoy the moment.

After marveling at all the attention the move generated for NASCAR outside of the sport, McReynolds first addressed the drivers who didn’t like it.

“It has moved the needle across the board,” McReynolds said on FS1. “And I realize there are some drivers saying we can’t have this every week. And you know what? I don’t want to see it every week, and I don’t think we will. But let it breathe. Celebrate one of the neatest things we have seen in our sport in a long time.”

Larry McReynolds

Crew chief Larry McReynolds speaks with driver Jeffrey Earnhardt before a race this year.

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images



Not everybody was impressed

One of the drivers who didn’t like the move was defending champion Kyle Larson, who may have inspired Chastain with a similar stunt at Darlington last year that didn’t work.

“Embarrassed that I did [inspire the move]… honestly,” Larson said after the race. “That’s not a good look for our sport at all. I don’t know what you guys think. You probably think it’s cool, but I think it is pretty embarrassing.”

Former champion Joey Logano called the move “spectacular” but worried about the precedent the move might set for future races. He called for NASCAR to outlaw the move and even suggested a Formula One-like penalty where drivers are not permitted to pass cars if they leave the racing line and hit the wall.

McReynolds was not buying it.

“Ross Chastain didn’t do anything wrong,” McReynolds said. “He didn’t shortcut the track. He didn’t bring out a caution. He didn’t wreck nobody but his own race car. He executed it to a T.”

He also slammed the idea of outlawing the maneuver after praising Chastain for showing “passion” in his effort to clinch a spot in the championship.

“I guess he could have stayed on the throttle in the groove and plowed through whoever the two or three in front of him was and hope it came out for the good,” McReynolds said while hosting his “On Track” show on SiriusXM. “But the kid went about it another way … and shame on NASCAR if they are even considering coming up with a rule. Forbid them. That would just be ripping us apart if they come up with a rule. What are you going to say? You can’t get against the wall? What is the rule going to be, for Pete’s sake?”

Some were just impressed that Chastain even tried the move

Chastain’s teammate at Trackhouse Racing, Daniel Suarez, was a guest on “NASCAR Race Hub” and praised the move, but more for having the awareness even to try it.

“It’s definitely one of the craziest things [I’ve ever seen],” Suarez said. “The crazy part is not to do it. It is to think about it…. To think about that as an option, you have to be a little wild. To do it, to put it up into the wall, doesn’t require talent. You just have to be a little crazy to be able to do it. But to think about that as an option, that’s where I give a lot of credit to Ross because, at that particular moment, that was his only option.”

Not all of Chastain’s competitors were against the move that Chastain said came from his childhood when he played NASCAR video games. Former NASCAR champion and current Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick marveled at the guts it took.

And it wasn’t just people in the NASCAR world who were impressed. Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso called it the move of the year in motorsports.

 





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