‘It was five against a lot’ – Crewmember taken to area hospital

Photo by Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Jerry Jordan, Editor
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Following the conclusion of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, fists flew when Brendan Gaughan approached Ross Chastain and crew members from Gaughan’s No. 62 team jumped in. The result was Chastain coming out he worse for the wear and a JD Motorsports crewmember, Ryan Bell, being transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

Bell serves as the car chief on the JD Motorsports No. 0 car but was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Gaughan and Chastain began arguing. Team owner, Johnny Davis, confirmed Bell was taken to the hospital but felt that he would be okay. Bell is reported to have suffered a concussion in the past so after his visit to the infield care center, he was taken for further evaluation. Early reports that Chastain was taken to the infield care center were incorrect.

Gaughan, Chastain and one of Chastain’s crewmember were summoned to the NASCAR Xfinity hauler to speak with officials. Upon exiting Gaughan played off the altercation saying that he was getting ready for a radio show the next morning and then heading to Mexico. Asked if he had a good right hook, he replied, “I’m a lefty.”

During his radio show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Sunday, Gaughan stated, “Texas is tough with the night race and the groove narrowed down. It isn’t the first issue we had. It isn’t the first issue others have had. I finally just had enough. Should I have done something different? Maybe. At this point of my life, I am kinda in the don’t care. It’s amazing. I got a lot of text messages from our peers that seem to be happy. It is what it is.”

Chastain; however, held a short press conference after his exit from the hauler and said he didn’t want to be known for fisticuffs, he wanted to be known for his talent on the track. He said it bothers him that his name will be associated with the fight rather than his on-track performance.

“We probably could have handled it a little better but this is NASCAR man, I hate that my name keeps popping up in the news for this,” Chastain said. “People who know me, know this is not me. It is not me to be getting in arguments and stuff but we will go onto Phoenix; I am proud of the Flex Seal boys and try to put this behind us, I guess.”

Chastain admitted to cutting Gaughan off as he tried to move in front of him late in the race but he felt letting him in would have been a detriment to his track position and in contradiction to his sponsor commitment to do the best he could on the track.

He said he was sitting on the edge of his door when Gaughan came up and began arguing. The next thing he remembers is fists flying.

“There was nothing to say back,” said Chastain, who added that he couldn’t repeat what Gaughan said to him. He said he didn’t throw the first punch despite reports to the contrary. “It was just a bunch of swings at that point from yellow sleeves (Gaughan’s crew wears yellow). Brendan wasn’t even the first one that threw a punch.

“I was just getting out of the car and was sitting on the door and getting ready to swing my legs out and there he was. He just came right at me with his guys and there were just swings at that point … initially when my legs were in the car and they had us separated, I got pulled backwards into a golf cart and kind of stomped on and rolled around down there by some other crew guys. It was five against a lot. But I feel fine, yeah, you’re gonna get a little shiner or something or a busted lip. That’s why I’ve got Invisalign, I started two weeks ago and they are going to keep my teeth straight.”

Asked his he thought the incident was over, he said, “for me it is.”

“There were no cameras so that was better. It would make me look better if there was but unfortunately I am sure there wasn’t for the start of it,” Chastain said. “I am calm. Some derogatory things were said beyond just curse words and then on-track, trying to be wrecked, I don’t like. You know several laps of trying to wreck me. So, I will go on to Phoenix and I was told to go on and race him and, you know, push and shove on the race track – not actually touch – but just race Phoenix like Phoenix is.

“This doesn’t help me moving up in my career. I am sure this will scare some people away. I will just have to go to work harder to show them that this is not who I am. I not on my way out I am on my way up.”

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