NASCAR Crew Chief Defends Ross Chastain’s ‘Video Game’ Playoff 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 traffic,” saying it set a bad precedent.
  • Larry McReynolds disagrees, saying that Chastain did nothing wrong and that everyone 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 longtime crew chief had some strong words for partygoers.

Larry McReynolds, NASCAR crew chief and Fox Sports analyst, appeared 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 just need to enjoy the moment.

After marveling at all the attention the NASCAR movement generated outside of the sport, McReynolds first addressed the drivers he didn’t like.

“It’s moved the needle across the board,” McReynolds told FS1. “And I realize there are some drivers who say 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 nicest things that we’ve seen in our sport for a long time.”

Larry McReynolds

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

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not everyone 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 trick at Darlington last year that didn’t work.

“I’m ashamed that I did it [inspire the move]…sincerely” Larson said after the game. “It’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’s pretty annoying.”

Former champion Joey Logano called the move “spectacular” but worried about the precedent the move could set for future matches. He asked NASCAR to outlaw the move and even proposed a penalty like Formula 1, where drivers are not allowed to pass cars if they leave the racing line and hit the wall.

McReynolds wasn’t buying it.

“Ross Chastain did nothing wrong,” McReynolds said. “He didn’t cut the track short. He didn’t warn. He didn’t destroy anyone but his own race car. He executed it to a T.”

He also slammed the idea of ​​outlawing the maneuver after praising Chastain for his “passion” in his quest to win a championship spot.

“I guess he could have stayed on the gas in the groove and plowed through whoever the two or three were in front of him and hopefully he’ll come out for good,” McReynolds said while hosting his “On Track” show on SiriusXM. “But the kid did it differently… and shame on NASCAR if they’re even thinking about coming up with a rule. Ban them. That would just tear us apart if they come up with a rule. What are you going to do? You can’t hit the wall? Who’s going to be the rule, for Pete’s sake?”

Some were impressed that Chastain even attempted the move

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

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

It wasn’t all of Chastain’s anti-motion animosity that Chastain said stemmed from his childhood playing NASCAR video games. Former NASCAR champion and current Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick admired the guts it took.

And it wasn’t just people in the NASCAR world who were impressed. Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso called it the motorsport move of the year.

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