John Haverlin column: Ross Chastain dumped Kevin Harvick, but can you blame him?

By John Haverlin

Ross Chastain wouldn’t say whether he spun Kevin Harvick on purpose after the two made contact while racing for the lead in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Darlington.

But it was pretty clear he did — and it was absolutely warranted.

Normally, Chastain competes with the lesser-funded JD Motorsports, and top-15 finishes are typically a good day for him. But Saturday was the first time he ran with a top-tier, Cup-affiliated organization — Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 car — so the expectations were raised.

He lived up to them in the first 75 percent of the race, winning the first two stages after winning the pole. This was turning into a dream day for Chastain and had the potential to be one that launched his career to the next level.

But the incident with Harvick ruined all of that. What could have been the greatest race of Chastain’s life — and the biggest story of the Xfinity Series season — ended up with the Ganassi car finishing 25th.

With Chastain on the outside of Harvick’s No. 98 in Turn 2, Harvick pinched him into the fence. Then, going down the backstretch, Chastain turned left into Harvick’s quarterpanel and Harvick’s car ended up going nose-first into the outside wall.

Obviously, Chastain wants to prove he belongs in top-tier equipment. When Harvick pushed him against the fence, it’s understandable that Chastain would want to retaliate. His reaction was likely just a result of anger and frustration, so it’s hard to blame him.

Harvick was the one who initiated the contact and cost Chastain a chance to win in his first race with Ganassi. Chastain simply returned the favor to Harvick, who’s already a multi-time NASCAR champion with nothing to lose going for the win.

In addition to being a resume builder, a win for Chastain would have meant five playoff points and a guaranteed place in the series’ seven-race championship hunt.

Now Chastain potentially has only two races left to showcase his talent with Ganassi. The next two times he drives the No. 42 are probably the most important of his racing career.

That’s why it makes sense he retaliated immediately instead of waiting for another Xfinity start — or even a Cup race.

If Chastain — who drives for Premium Motorsports in the Cup Series — wanted to make Harvick’s day difficult in the Southern 500, he certainly could.

But Chastain is mature enough to realize team owners want intelligent drivers who can see the bigger picture in their cars. So if he were to give Harvick a hard time on Sunday, it probably won’t do him any good.

28 Replies to “John Haverlin column: Ross Chastain dumped Kevin Harvick, but can you blame him?”

  1. There are sooooo many things I could say about Harvick but I’ll refrain myself ????????.

    1. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with Kyle Busch, who was not in the race and isn’t half as dirty a driver as Kevin Harvick. Gary Johnson whines like a little bitch about Kyle even when he isn’t in the race!

  2. I’m pretty impressed… Harvick managed to top Keselowski in my most hated list.

    Not because he was an ass that expected someone trying for his career to just “let” him pass him with… what 40 to go? That was bad enough.

    No, his post-race interview was DISGUSTING and APPALLING.

    Frankly, out of all the interviews over the 25 or so years I can remember since I was a kid, I never seen such a pompous ass interview by anyone. Sure, guys have whined. Sure, they have traded punches.

    But to actually call a driver, IN HIS OWN SERIES, racing for his life, racing for the win ANYTHING less than, when HARVICK is the one who screwed up? Who the heck does he think he is? Is his mind going? Did he forget what it was like to not know where your ride is coming from? Can Stewart press-punch him or something?

    Did he become the grand-high-poobah of uppabuttcrack when no one was looking? The audacity of complaining the leader – who led ALL DAY and was racing for the win – didn’t get out of your way?

    The fact he expected someone to do that just floors me. Floors me. How dare Chastain race for a win? Against the Hail King Harvick?

    I don’t think I’ve actually been this annoyed since Dale made the milk comment about my “boyfriend” Jeff. (Hey, I was like 12.)

    1. I agree with your comment 99%,only thing I don’t agree about is hating Brad K. I don’t hate anyone but I do dislike some. Harvick lost a lot of fans by his actions yesterday, so much like Kyle Busch, I dislike both to point I hope both of them gets taken out of every race left if it was at all possible. Wishful thinking but hey it never hurts to wish. I’m with you about who does Harvick think he is, that drivers are too move over and let him through, Kyle Busch says the same thing when he’s running Xfinity or truck and sometimes in cup when cars in the back won’t move over for him. No body, that I know of has made anyone of them king of the track or king of NASCAR. I hate that Ross Chastain possibly great win was taken from him. SHAME

  3. So the 42 and the 98 ran out of racing room due to a non competitive lap car and made contact. When a butt hurt punk deliberately turns another driver head first into the wall at over 130 mph I consider that to be an offense which should result in suspension. It’s like commiting a felony in my opinion. Harvick could have been seriously injured.. Nascar should not tolerate that kind of payback.

    1. Then you should quit watching. Pretty much every driver on that track (especially Cup series) has turned a guy.

      Frankly, Darlington was one of the “softest” places to do it. I’ve watched Mr. Nice Guy Edwards do it at 210 on a corner.

      And if you want to get so petty about it, Harvick not letting off could have hurt Chastain, therefore, it was Harvick’s fault because he precipitated it.

  4. I was also disappointed in Harvick’s interview after even know he was dumped by Chastain. He put Chastain in the wall, ruined the 42s chance for even a top 10 so getting dumped should have been expected.

  5. Let’s see….Harvick, who has nothing at stake but pride, doesn’t back down and crowds a kid who is getting his big break, into the wall. I think he’s lucky the kid didn’t do worse. And what poor sportsmanship Harvick showed in his interview, accepting no part of responsibility. Shame on him.

    1. Oh, is that what happened? What the hell have you been smoking?????
      Harvick is a Champion, like him or not it’s tough titty for you ignorant losers. Go buy a watermelon.

  6. I dont see how this is Harvick fault. Ross drove six inches off of his door!!! Taking all the air off of Harvicks car. What did you think was going to happen Ross. This isn’t Martinsville. You have to give a couple feet, not 6 inches.

  7. It’s always nice to see new faces getting a chance to run good equipment. Ryan Preece is a great example. However, how many fans know that this punk Chastain once punched another driver in the face? This jerk is a magnet for conflict and I hope that Nascar will straighten him out. But I doubt it.

  8. My take was that the physics of Chastain’s car after the wall put him into Harvick. I do not think he could have hit Harvick if he had been trying.
    I usually pull for Kes or Chase. I would have been aggravated at either if they had done to Chastain what Harvick did.

  9. Since Harvick become a Ford guy,it drives him crazy if he thinks a
    Chevy is going to win,no matter who is driving the Chevy.

  10. You can thank D. Earnhardt Sr. and Nascar for all this. In the old days the likes of Lee Petty and Curtis Turner would have put Dale in the cow pastures for his driving style. Yet Nascar promoted him-the man in black.

  11. Having raced for many years and many levels,I can deffinately see what Harvick meant… But to put yourself “the Nascar champion” in a position like he did It wouldn’t have mattered who he was racing the outcome would have been the same. Ross held his ground and was moved into the wall by the “8 tires are better than 4 tires” driving style of Harvick. We all probably would have done the same thing to pass the leader. The part that bothers me is the Harvick interview when he basically told all other car owners not to let Ross drive for them because he was a poor driver. That’s not rigght for any pro athlete to do to someone else who is only trying to move into the series. Harvick I love your energy I love your abilities but I must call foul on this occasion.
    You really owe that driver a PUBLIC apology.

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