Ross Chastain claims his first NASCAR Cup victory, wins at The COTA (3-27-22)

By: Becca Cottingham

Headline Photo Courtesy: NASCAR Twitter Page

It is a beautiful day for racing in Austin, Texas where rain is not in the forecast. The opening of COTA with Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez brought us to the green flag. Daniel’s Suarez took the lead and did not look back. He would go on to lead all fifteen laps of the first stage.
We start stage two five wide and massive spins outs. Both Daniel Suarez followed by Kyle Larson were in two different places. With drivers that decided to pit before the end of the stage, this was a strategy play that seemed to play out well. Some teams are going for a two-pit stop goal. While others went for points. It paid off for Austin Cindric as he was able to get out front in stage two and lead the way. He stayed in the lead until he was called to pit road for fuel and tires which would change how the stage will end. Denny Hamlin will take over and have an over ten-second lead on his teammate Kyle Busch. Denny Hamlin will win his first stage of 2022.
We start the final stage again five wide and Joey Logano shooting extremely wide. We will get our first caution for debris. All other cautions have been for stage breaks. This is because the track is so long NASCAR generally does not feel like it needs to call a caution unless there is a true issue on the track. We will see at least two more cautions. One of those for Erik Jones breaking down and the other for Bubba Wallace losing a wheel. This will be a huge penalty for the team. A lot of teams were in fuel-saving mode as well. That was until Corey LaJoie spilled fuel on the track and brought out another caution. This allowed most everyone on the brink of not having enough fuel to place the needed fuel into the car. Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger continue to battle for the lead position and who could win this race. We get one final caution that brings us to overtime. That gives us an insane finish at COTA with Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman, and AJ Allmendinger all battling for the win. It initially looked like Ross had it without any issues. The door was open just enough and AJ took advantage of that spot. So Ross Chastain battled back while Alex Bowman also decided to put himself in the mix to win. Beating and banging happened and Ross Chastain did make it back to lead to get his first unofficial cup win.