NASCAR Cup Series

Joey Logano wins inaugural Gateway Cup race amid Chastain beef

3 Mins read
Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images

The inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway presented a battle of former champions that ended with Joey Logano holding off Kyle Busch for the victory, but most attention seemed to be on the eighth-place finisher. Ross Chastain, who has developed a reputation for his aggressive driving style, did little to dispute it as he became embroiled in on-track drama with Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

The feud began with Hamlin shortly after Stage #2 began when Chastain bumped into his rear in an effort to pass him, but this sent Hamlin into the outside wall. Eventually two laps down, Hamlin retaliated by forcing him onto the apron during their next encounter. Ryan Blaney‘s spin set up a restart on lap 101 where Chastain clipped Elliott and spun him across the frontstretch, also collecting Bubba Wallace.

Elliott and Hamlin, who infamously clashed at Martinsville in 2017 while fighting for a Championship Round spot, became an unlikely “tag team” during the ensuing lap 107 restart as the former forced Chastain into the wall before the latter did the same. Even B.J. McLeod was dragged into the mess when Chastain pushed Elliott into him.

By the end of the race, Chastain finished eighth while Elliott and Hamlin were respectively twenty-first and thirty-fourth. Speaking with FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, Hamlin called out Chastain’s lack of “sense of conscience” for his driving behaviour but added stock car racing is “self-policing” and that one might have to “fence these guys hard” for them to realise their actions. Chastain’s employer Justin Marks responded to the message on Twitter with a “Can’t wait”, prompting Hamlin to respond that he is “not helping” but added “you can keep stoking if you’d like. Not sure it helps the end resolve.”

Chastain took responsibility for his driving, saying he “owe(s) half the field an apology. Words aren’t going to fix it, so I’ll have to pay for it on the track and almost did today. I deserve everything that they do. I just can’t believe that I continue to make the same mistakes and overdrive the corners and drive into guys.”

While the three-way quarrel dominated much of Sunday’s headlines, Logano and Busch battled for the lead late. Kevin Harvick‘s wreck on lap 237 set up overtime, and Logano took the lead with a bump from Team Penske ally Blaney before keeping Busch at bay during the two-lap run to the finish.

The win is Logano’s second points payer of 2022 after Darlington. The 2018 champion has seemed to develop a knack for winning inaugural events, having done the same for Bristol Motor Speedway’s Dirt Race in 2021 and the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February.

“It doesn’t get much better than that, racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best, it was a lot of fun,” Logano told FOX. “Crossing each other back and forth, I knew it was coming. I did it to him, I knew he was going to do it to me. We crossed back and forth there in the last lap there a couple of times. […] Nice to get a few wins on the season here, start collecting those points, playoff points. I’m out of breath.

“What a great car, though. Really fast. I kind of messed up in qualifying, and Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) made a great call putting two tyres on. Blaney did a great job with the push down in the one, which kept me close at least and being able to make the move. Good racing there.”

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1722Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord245Running
21218Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota245Running
31145Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota245Running
4512Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord245Running
5810Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord245Running
61319Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota245Running
72143Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
8101Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet245Running
9320Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota245Running
103516A.J. Allmendinger*Kaulig RacingChevrolet245Running
1122Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord245Running
12155Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
132548Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
142831Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet245Running
15293Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet245Running
1648Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet245Running
173217Zane Smith*RFK RacingFord245Running
181734Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord245Running
192424William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
20306Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord245Running
21169Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
222238Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord245Running
232399Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet245Running
24114Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord245Running
25921Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord245Running
261823Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota245Running
272642Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
283377Josh Bilicki*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet245Running
291441Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord245Running
303478B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord245Running
313615Parker Kligerman*Rick Ware RacingFord245Running
322747Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet241Running
33204Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord235Accident
34611Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota234Running
353151Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord166Power
36197Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet72Engine
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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