AUSTIN, Texas — Ross Chastain would not be denied in his quest for a first NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday afternoon at Circuit of The Americas.
Driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing, Chastain had the lead, then he didn’t, and then he had it again. And that scenario happened on numerous occasions.
But Chastain held back A.J. Allmendinger and Alex Bowman during a wild green-white-checkered overtime restart at the 3.41-mile road course.
Tyler Reddick led the field with two circuits remaining, but Chastain was able to take the top spot away through the esses portion of the 3.41-mile Austin, Texas, road course. Allmendinger, who restarted third, moved up to second.
Chastain held the lead at the white flag, but Allmendinger stalked the back bumper of Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet until making his move for the lead through the carousel. In the process, Alex Bowman was able to pass both of them for the lead, but Chastain wasn’t going to be denied. Chastain pushed Allmendinger into turn 19, which slid Allmendinger into the side of Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet, sending Allmendinger spinning and Chastain past both of them.
“It’s never tasted sweeter, I gotta tell you,” Chastain said while eating the watermelon he smashed at the finish line. “A.J. is so good. I’ve learned so much from him. I had to go beat the guy. He taught me so much.”
It was the first victory for Trackhouse Racing, which is owned by Justin Marks and Pitbull.
Bowman held on to finish second, while Allmendinger was unable to continue in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, finishing 33rd.
“At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror,” Allmendinger said. “If you are OK with it, you’re OK with it. Each person is different.”
Bowman came home second for Hendrick Motorsports.
“Hate that we can’t come away with a win, but happy for Ross getting his first win,” Bowman said. “It’s been a crap weekend, so I’m ready to get home and see the dogs and move on to next weekend. Glad to come away with a second-place finish.”
Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick completed the top five.
Bell was a lap down at one point in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, but battled back to finish third.
“It was a hard-fought day that’s for sure. Losing power steering wasn’t ideal,” Bell said. “I picked up an issue early on in the race and I knew something wasn’t right and eventually lost power steering a couple laps later. That wasn’t good, but this 20 group did amazing getting us back out there. The DeWalt Camry was really strong on restarts. I was always able to pick off a couple spots and that’s ultimately how we got our finish.”
Chastain led four times for 31 of the 69 laps. Nine yellow flags lasted 13 laps.
Daniel Suarez and Denny Hamlin won the stages.