Whatever happens next between Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin, Trackhouse Racing founder Justin Marks will enjoy watching as much as everyone else.
“Honestly, I’m here for it. I’m ready,” Marks told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The drama and controversy, I guess there’s a lot of talk in this sport. There is a lot of time telling everybody what we’re going to do and not a lot of time doing it. So, if they want to play, it’ll be fun.
“I’ve said this a number of times, I’m a huge fan of the sport, and I love entertaining fans and doing stuff out there that gets the conversation going, so if we want to battle, let’s battle. I’m not going to shy away from that. But at the end of the day, I’m not driving the car myself. We’ll see what happens, I guess.”
Marks said he doesn’t want a war and does care about Hamlin’s side of the story and perspective, and said he would speak to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who had already reached out via text.
Chastain angered Hamlin and Chase Elliott during Sunday’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway after making contact with both. Chastain sent Hamlin into the Turn 1 wall on lap 62 and tagged Elliott in the left rear to spin him on lap 102. Both drivers made Chastain aware they were unhappy during the race.
Marks, from pit road, even tweeted a GIF of eating popcorn.
“It’s just really fun to be a part of this sport where there’s drama and controversy and conversation and all that,” Marks said. “Some days it’s good, some days it’s bad. But what a moment. What an opportunity to be a part of something that gets everyone fired up. I love it.”
Afterwards, Chastain apologized for his “unacceptable” driving and said he owed half the field an apology.
“He was aggressive,” Marks said. “He certainly did not want to wreck the 11 and did not go into that corner trying to wreck the 11. It’s a hard track to pass on, and this sport is difficult to make it through the field, and it’s a game of inches. I’m proud of his aggression, and I think he probably beat himself up a little too much after the race over it.
“I don’t want to see cars wreck; we certainly don’t want to see that. But I don’t know; I don’t want him to slow down or take any aggression away because it’s exciting for all of us to watch. I don’t know, it’s kind of a tough situation. I just love he’s fighting hard. Both of my guys.”
Marks wants both of his drivers, Chastain and Daniel Suarez, to fight for their place and let it self-police on the racetrack
“He’s a fighter and a battler,” said Marks. “He had a great race car and he’s aggressive. I told him after the race, I don’t think that you really did anything wrong. I think you walked into a club that the same couple of guys have been in for a long time – the top five, top 10 club – and you’re aggressive, and you’re upsetting the apple cart, and they’re not happy resulting.
“But don’t really change what you’re doing because we’ve got way too much time and money invested and time and effort to have either of our guys lay down.
“I’m glad through all the drama and everything, he was able to come back and get a top 10 finish. It was sort of a championship day for him to overcome a lot of that adversity and still bring home a lot of points, which I was proud of. But it was kind of a long day.”