One of NASCAR’s most controversial drivers took a shortcut during overtime at the Indianapolis road course.
The move gave Chastain the lead, causing a lot of confusion.
Tyler Reddick eventually won the race, and Chastain was penalized for the leaving the track.
Ross Chastain once again finds himself in the middle of a NASCAR controversy, this time for taking a shortcut.
During the final restart in overtime at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Chastain, who was fourth during the restart, intentionally left the track and used an access road shortcut to take the lead with two laps to go.
The move caused confusion as even the announcers were unsure if it was legal and if Chastain (1) would be penalized.
Tyler Reddick (8) eventually moved past Chastain and picked up the win. Chastain, who finished second, was later penalized 30 seconds and dropped to 27th in the race.
Reddick admitted he was confused about what was happening but seemed to acknowledge that it was a move other drivers had discussed.
“I was like, uh-oh,” Reddick said. “But that was a scenario that had been talked about. If you get bottled up, what do you do? Take the access road. I couldn’t believe he got ahead of me. I was kind of waiting to see if he was going to have a penalty because I didn’t want to move him out of the way and make his race worse than what it was. Yeah, I was really surprised by that, but hey, we made it work. Hats off to Ross for trying to do that, but really glad it didn’t end up working out because I’d have been pretty pissed off.”
What made the moment so confusing was that other drivers had used the access road earlier in the race when forced off the track into the first turn. The road was put there to keep drivers from taking a shortcut through the grass, something Bubba Wallace did earlier in the race without a penalty.
According to NASCAR rules for the race, drivers who leave the track should take a stop-and-go penalty where they would come to a complete stop in a designated area and then re-enter the race. If the race ends before the penalty is served, 30 seconds is added to their time.
Chastain defended the move after the race, saying there was just not enough room in the corner.
“Just trying not to be in the corners there in Turn 1,” Chastain said. “I thought we were four wide, and couldn’t go any farther right and decided to take the NASCAR access lane out there.”
This is not Chastain’s first run-in with controversy, as he has quickly become NASCAR’s most contentious driver.
Over the last year, he has been involved in several incidents where his aggressive driving style has caused other drivers to wreck. He has been involved in four incidents with Denny Hamlin alone.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has defended Chastain’s “throwback” driving style, but the latest move will not win over any of his critics.
Read the original article on Insider