On Sunday night, Ross Chastain won the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway, becoming the third driver in NASCAR history to accomplish this feat.
For Chastain, driving the Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet to triumph at their home track was the first victory since April 2022 at Talladega. For the first time in his career, Chastain had taken the pole position to begin the race.
Chastain started the race at the 1.33-mile, D-shaped concrete circuit in fourth place in the season points race and led the most laps (100). The 30-year-old had to dodge slower cars for the final 34 circuits to beat Truex by 0.789 seconds.
After the driver known as “Melon Man” secured his spot in the postseason, he smashed a watermelon on the starting line and burned out in celebration. After being criticized for his aggressive driving style, Chastain used his victory to tell his fellow competitors to ignore the naysayers.
I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul-searching about this whole experience,” Chastain said. “But I had a group who believed in me and didn’t let me go down.” I respond, “And they bring rocket ships, and I just try to point them to victory lane.”
Truex, the points leader for the season, attempted to win consecutive races by leading 50 of them. Just before NASCAR’s one-off week, he took the checkered flag in Sonoma.
“Just that close again,” Truex remarked after securing his sixth top-five result and increasing his points lead. The more we do it, the better off we’ll be.
Truex won the race in his Toyota, beating out Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin. Kyle Larson finished fifth, while Elliott finished fourth for Hendrick Motorsports.
After leading 81 laps, Hamlin indicated he was confident his vehicle could finish third, behind only Truex and the other leader.
“The 1” (Chastain) “obviously came on strong there at the end,” Hamlin added. We were on the hunt but needed a faster car to compete.
The opening stage was won by Tyler Reddick, who had started with Chastain on the front row.
Truex, Chastain, and William Byron raced three abreast at the front to start the second segment, bringing excitement to a circuit plagued by lackluster competitiveness since its 2001 inauguration.
Saturday’s Xfinity Series race was full of mayhem, with the first yellow waving on the first lap.
On lap 138, immediately after he had pitted, Reddick lost control of his Toyota and brought out the second yellow of the day. At the start of pit road, his tire came off, and his car spun into the grass.
On lap 146, on the restart on the front stretch, Ryan Blaney crashed head-on into an inner wall after being touched from behind by Kyle Busch and Alex Bowman. This brought out the third and final yellow of the race. After taking what Blaney described as the worst hit, he walked out of the infield care facility.
Blaney said that he got struck from behind after checking up for the restart and that he could not right his Ford when it landed on the grass. He thought it was “pretty ridiculous” that there wasn’t a SAFER barrier along the infield wall.
It stinks, Blaney added, having to return home earlier than expected.