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Ryan Blaney explains why he was ticked off at Ross Chastain

Ryan Blaney in sunglasses

Oct 14, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) during qualifying for the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Blaney won the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Sunday, but Ross Chastain did not make it easy for him.

Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Mustang for Team Penske and Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Trackhouse Racing went back and forth for the race lead at Phoenix Speedway in Arizona.

Chastain was no longer in championship contention, but still bested finalists Blaney, William Byron, and Kyle Larson to win the last race of the season. The No. 1 Chevy blocked the No. 12 Ford several times, which prompted Blaney to flip off Chastain with 56 laps to go (video here).

Blaney even bumped Chastain during the final stage of the race. The Team Penske driver admitted after the race that the minor collision was intentional. Blaney considered it payback for Chastain blocking him “on purpose.”

“Well, f—ing right, I hit him on purpose. He blocked me on purpose 10 times,” Blaney said, via RACER’s Kelly Crandall (profanity edited by LBS).

Blaney stated that he felt as though Chastain was “holding him up,” which played to the advantage of Byron and Larson.

Blaney still managed to finish second in the end, just behind Chastain, to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Chastain became the first non-championship-eligible driver to win the season finale race since the playoff elimination format first began in 2014.

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