By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Short tracks and tempers go together in auto racing. The NASCAR Xfinity Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway is a classic example of how true this statement can be. Today, tempers flared between Ross Chastain and Jeremy Clements.
Chastain started his No. 4 GK Services Chevrolet Camaro in 11th and Clements started his No. 51 Chevrolet Camaro in 15th, with both drivers running close to each other throughout the first two stages.
After Chastain made contact with Clements several times, he would wind up bumping Clements out of the way for position. The contact was hard enough that Clements let his frustrations known under caution, bumping the rear of Chastain’s JD Motorsports car.
With seven laps to go in Stage 2, the race was red flagged due to rain. As the field was brought onto pit road, Chastain told his spotter that, “I have to go and talk to the 51, tell him it was just racing and that I didn’t mean to rough him up.”
However, Chastain never sought out Clements during the lengthy red flag, but Clements did find Chastain.
According to Chastain, Clements ‘grabbed him by the shoulders.’ Chastain in turn, punched Clements in the eye from reports at the track. Clements ended up taking a trip to the infield care center.
During an interview, Chastain aired his frustrations, “Somebody grabbed me by my shoulders and kind of pushed me. I just turned around and saw who it was. I hope he realizes now that he can talk, we can talk, but you can’t grab someone by the shoulders. That happened before and I said right then I wouldn’t let it happen again. What’s done is done.”
Both drivers have been summoned by NASCAR to the Series hauler following the completion of the race.
Clements was cleared at the infield care center to return to competition. Both drivers kept their noses clean with each other for the remainder of the race.
Chastain was unable to finish the race, slamming the outside wall after cutting down a tire with 28 laps to go.
Clements would finish the race in 17th, one lap behind the leaders.
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