DOVER, Del. — Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson were both on their way to scoring stage points to start Monday’s Würth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. That was until Larson was caught up in another incident not of his own doing while running inside the top five.
On lap 80, Chastain got into the back of Brennan Poole’s No. 15 car, which backed into the fence in front of Larson, who was riding the high line. The No. 5 Chevrolet had nowhere to go and clobbered Poole, who was one lap off the pace.
Caution is out for an incident involving the No. 15 and No. 5 on lap 81 at @MonsterMile. pic.twitter.com/nbwPb18usr
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 1, 2023
Chastain immediately keyed his radio saying he didn’t mean to get into the back of the No. 15 car.
Poole, who was making his first Cup Series start since 2020 and competes full time in the Xfinity Series, was out of the race after completing just 79 laps. He said Chastain “probably needs to get his butt whooped.”
“I’m not exactly sure, but I feel like I just got run over,” Poole said at the infield care center. “As soon as he ran into me, I just kind of got shoved into the corner, like way too deep, and then I was just immediately turned around. So, I think it was the No. 1? Go figure. I mean, just a joke… 80-something laps into a race? No reason.
“It’s kind of pathetic. It seems to be something Ross [Chastain] does a lot recently. Just uncalled for.”
Larson went to the garage for more than 30 laps and limped around to the finish of the race once he returned. The No. 5 Chevrolet finished 32nd, 41 laps down. That marks three out of the last four races that Larson has been involved in incidents that weren’t of his own doing.
“Nowhere for me to go, but I just hope our luck turns around soon,” Larson said following the race. “We have the fastest car every damn weekend and it doesn‘t seem to work out.”
After climbing from his No. 1 Chevrolet that went on to finish second, Chastain apologized for triggering the three-car incident. He didn’t intend to turn the No. 15 car, he said.
“It‘s completely my fault,” Chastain noted. “I was actually going to follow Brennan past the [No. 3 of Austin Dillon] and he checked up quicker than I thought. Totally my fault.
“Tomorrow, I‘ll go out to Sonoma to the Skip Barber [Racing School] and when I get home from that, I‘ll go find [Poole] and Rick [Ware] and make some of that right.”
Larson said if circumstances were different and the race was nearing its conclusion, he would acknowledge the maneuver that Chastain pulled. But to be just 80 laps into the race, he wasn’t pleased.
“I would understand in the third stage or something,” Larson noted. “But that was the middle of the first stage. To make an error like that, and his errors never affect him negatively.
“It is what it is. I‘m proud of the racecars that my team is bringing. We are the fastest car every and we were getting to drive past him. Who knows, I think we could have won that first stage if we kept going.”
With 22 laps remaining in the race, Chastain was in pursuit of Martin Truex Jr. for the race lead when they got Larson. The No. 5 car deliberately tried to hold up Chastain, costing him valuable track time.
When Chastain was asked about Larson holding him up, he wouldn’t comment.