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Race report
NASCAR Cup Nashville

Chastain ends year-long winless streak with Nashville Cup win

Ross Chastain provided his Trackhouse Racing team its first NASCAR Cup win at his hometown track with a dominant victory Sunday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway.

Chastain, who had lamented in an interview Friday that he needed to “wreck less and win more,” won the pole for Sunday’s race and ended a more than year-long winless streak with his first victory of the 2023 season.

With 70 of 300 laps remaining, Chastain ran down Denny Hamlin to take the lead then stayed out front through the final round of green flag pit stops.

Martin Truex Jr. closed to Chastain’s rear bumper multiple times in the last 50 laps as the two navigated lapped traffic, but Chastain beat him to the checkered flag by 0.789 seconds to secure the win.

 

“I got to tell you, this is incredible,” Chastain said after doing a massive burnout on the frontstretch and smashing a watermelon. “This is why every little kid out there anywhere in the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to if you’re competitive, they will try to tear you down. You will start believing you can’t do it.

“You have to go to your people, trust in the process, read your books, trust the big man’s plan upstairs, just keep getting up and going to work. I got to tell you, a lot of self-reflection throughout all this.

“I had a group that believed in me and they didn’t let me get down. They bring rocket ships and I just try to point them to Victory Lane”

The win is the third of Chastain’s career and comes during a season in which he has performed well on the track but had got caught up in run-ins with other drivers that left him without a victory.

Hamlin ended up third, Chase Elliott was fourth and his Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate Kyle Larson was fifth.

Completing the top-10 were William Byron, Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and A.J. Allmendinger.

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Stage 1

Tyler Reddick passed Chastain with just under 30 of 90 laps remaining and held him off by 0.492 seconds to take the Stage 1 win. Byron was third, Truex fourth and Hamlin fifth.

Busch was forced to make a green flag pit stop in the opening 20 laps for a flat tire, which sent him one lap down. He stayed out while others made their green flag stops and was able to recover to finish seventh.

Stage 2

Hamlin held off a late charge by Truex to claim the win in a wild, incident-filled Stage 2. Chastain was third, Byron fourth and Bell fifth.

Reddick lost his right-rear wheel after making a green flag stop and spun out trying to get to pit road to bring out a caution on lap 139. Truex had inherited the lead when the race returned to green.

Ryan Blaney wrecked out of the race after 146 laps after slamming into part of the interior frontstretch wall not covered by SAFER barrier. He was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Hamlin the first off pit road and he led the way on the restart on lap 193.

With 70 laps remaining, Chastain finally ran down Hamlin to reclaim the lead. All of the lead-lap cars still needed to pit once more for new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

 

With 62 laps to go, Kevin Harvick – who was running fourth – fell off the pace with a flat right-rear tire and had to coast to pit road, which knocked him out of contention.

Once the cycle of final green flag stops was completed on lap 267, Chastain had cycled back to the lead and with about a half-second advantage over Truex.

Chastain maintained a half-second lead as he and Truex navigated lapped traffic with 20 laps remaining in the race. Hamlin ran third, almost four seconds behind the leader.

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