William Byron, Ross Chastain should bury any potential beef for Talladega

If William Byron and Ross Chastain were smart, they shouldn’t talk about their last-lap contact at Texas Motor Speedway in the next few days.

That’s not to say they should let hard feelings linger for several weeks. They need to talk. Just not this week. They should agree to just bury it until after Talladega Superspeedway (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on FOX) this weekend.

Chastain gave Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (once from behind and once from beside him) plenty of room on the two previous restarts to the final one at Texas, so he might feel he has already played the role of good Chevrolet teammate.

But working together at Talladega is too important for them to wonder if the other will help or hold a grudge over Texas, where Byron didn’t give Chastain a break and turned him as he tried to block while battling for position.

While it looked like more a racing incident than anything, their best course of action would be to let any frustration resume next week at Dover.

The races at Talladega are ones where a driver needs as many friends as the driver can get — and often those friends come from within their manufacturer. 

Hendrick and Trackhouse (Chastain’s team) have been the two strongest Chevrolet teams in Cup at the superspeedways. Richard Childress Racing, Kaulig and Spire certainly can help, too.

It would be no surprise to see Chastain and Byron needing to help each other at the front late in the race. A Byron-Chastain beef could be disruptive as they both have won in the last couple of years on superspeedway. 

As of Tuesday early afternoon, the two had not talked. Byron said after the race he didn’t mean to turn Chastain but had a good run and felt he was in position not to be blocked. He has reached out to Chastain.

“My perspective is we just came together in a spot there,” Byron said. “He was coming down the track to try to cover my run and I was in the corner exit like I anticipated where he would be on the exit.

“It’s unfortunate. It’s racing on the last lap. I would do that 10 out of 10 times probably to stay in that spot.”

Byron said maybe the timing of the momentum that he had was a little bit different than he thought, but he’d have to talk to Chastain.

And they do need to talk. But if it’s going to be one of those discussions to agree to disagree, which tend to just be more frustrating, maybe they should let a little more time pass and just pause their feelings for this weekend’s race.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.

 


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