Ross Chastain and Trackhouse Racing became first-time Cup winners Sunday when Chastain bashed and banged his way around the final lap of overtime at the Circuit of the Americas road course.
He tangled with friend and former teammate AJ Allmendinger to secure his first victory in 121 Cup starts. Chastain won in his sixth race with Trackhouse, which is co-owned by Pitbull.
The win is complex for Chastain, who justified his aggressive last-lap moves against Allmendinger as what’s required to win in the Cup Series. Chastain gave initial pause at what damage he may have done in the relationship with his one-time mentor. The two were Xfinity Series teammates at Kaulig Racing.
Overtime produced the most aggressive action of a long Sunday of racing on the permanent road course used primarily for Formula One. The race had nine cautions and ran 3 hours, 20 minutes.
Tyler Reddick had pushed his way to the led on the single lap run between the eighth and ninth caution, while Chastain and Allmendinger restarted overtime from second and third. Sitting in fourth was Alex Bowman, the driver often chided for “backing into victories.
For a moment, it looked as if another win would indeed fall in Bowman’s lap. Overtime featured four lead changes, two by Chastain, one by Allmendinger and Bowman even got to the front, but Chastain decided the race by divebombing inside of Allmendinger.
Bowman finished second for Hendrick Motorsports and a Chevrolet sweep. Christopher Bell was third for Toyota and followed by Chase Elliott of Hendrick, the defending race winner. Reddick was fifth and pole-sitter Ryan Blaney was the highest-finishing Ford driver in sixth.
The Cup Series races Sunday at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Alex Bowman is the defending race winner and Martin Truex Jr. won the playoff race at Richmond last September.