It took just four races in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season for the series’ hottest rivalry to pick right back up where it left off.
In 2022, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain made himself known as one of the series’ top young drivers.
Chastain won three races and finished second in the points standings. But it didn’t come without some collateral damage. Chastain made a number of enemies with his aggressive, and what some would call reckless (certainly not wreckless) driving.
The man most-often on the receiving end of those incidents was Joe Gibbs Racing veteran Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin appeared to get his revenge last year at Pocono Raceway.
But it turns out he wasn’t quite over the previous incidents. Hamlin got into in the door of Chastain during the finals laps of Sunday’s Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR Star Denny Hamlin Says His Rivalry With Ross Chastain Isn’t Over
And as it turns out, he’s making it clear that the incident was intentional. He spoke about the incident on the most-recent episode of his “Actions Detrimental” podcast.
“It wasn’t a mistake. I let the wheel go, and I said, “He’s coming with me.”
“I saw that we were the only people up top, so I said I’m gonna send him in the fence and door him. Now my dumb ass got caught up in it because I got pinned. He was between me and the wall, and then so I got all screwed up, and then I lost a bunch of positions for my team, which was stupid as (expletive). But at the time, I’m like, I’m gonna finish in the mid-teens anyway because my car’s just plowing here, and I’m about to get ate up by all these (other drivers on) new tires. I just was like, if I’m gonna give this guy a hard time, this is going to be then.”
Hamlin also said he plans on continuing to use the podcast as an outlet to speak about their feud, and that Chastain doesn’t enjoy that fact.
“I’ve said it, and I think that Ross doesn’t like it when I speak his name in the media and when I have this microphone,” Hamlin said, “but I told him, ‘Well, I have a microphone, and I’m going to call it like I see it and until you get a microphone, you can then say whatever you want about me.’ But the fact is, while I’m sitting here talking, I’m going to call things the way I see it, and sometimes I’ve got to call myself out, which I’m the dumba** who lost just as many spots as he did. But at the time, I said, well, I’m going to finish s*** anyway, and I’m just going to make sure that he finishes s*** right here with me.”
Chastain has not weighed on Hamlin’s comments. And he likely won’t do so. But this probably isn’t the final chapter in the red-hot rivalry.