Ross Chastain is public enemy No. 1 these days in the NASCAR Cup Series garage.
Arguably half the drivers in the garage have probably wanted to hit him after incidents over the past couple of years. One driver, Noah Gragson, did just that, trading punches with Chastain after Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway.
Yet one NASCAR insider stepped forward this week to staunchly defend Chastain. Kyle Petty, a longtime NASCAR driver who is now an analyst with NBC Sports, praised Chastain in a video segment. He compared Chastain to some of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, including his own father, Richard Petty, along with the legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr.
And Petty dropped in some hilarious anecdotes and comments poking fun at drivers who have complained about Chastain.
“OK, everybody likes to complain about Ross Chastain,” Petty said in the segment posted on NASCAR.com. “He is what Joey Logano was. We go back a number of years, everybody liked to complain about Joey Logano. If we go back in my time, I’m going to say Darrell Waltrip, I’m going to say Dale Earnhardt, Ernie Irvan … what happens is, when you have a new guy running at the sharp end of the stick, what I mean is winning races and challenging the establishment, people are going to complain.”
Petty was just getting started.
“Get off of Ross Chastain’s back,” Petty said. “Here’s the deal: Ross Chastain drives like Richard Petty, like Cale Yarborough, like Dale Earnhardt Sr. did in a lot of ways, like Joey Logano does. He has one purpose, it’s to win the race. He didn’t come to make friends, he didn’t come to bake you a cake, to sing happy birthday to you, to hang out with you in the bus lot. He came to take your trophy and take your money, and that’s what he does on a fairly consistent basis.
“He’s the new kid on the block, and no one seems to like the new kid on the block. Is he aggressive? Yes. Is that OK? It’s OK with me and should be OK with you, too.”
Petty finished up with a message for NASCAR drivers complaining about Chastain. To paraphrase him, “Stop whining.”
“Remember when drivers started complaining? ‘Oh they raced me too hard,'” Petty said. “‘They shouldn’t be racing me so hard 50 laps into the race’… That’s what you get paid for.”