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Ross Chastain wins at Nashville for first Cup win of the year

LEBANON, Tenn . — Ross Chastain silenced the questions about his driving style, scoring his first victory in more than a year Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway.

“This is why every little kid out there anywhere in the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to if you’re competitive, they will try to tear you down. You will start believing you can’t do it,” Chastain told NBC Sports.

“You have to go to your people, trust in the process, read your books, trust the big man’s plan upstairs, just keep getting up and going to work.”

Chastain’s third career Cup victory came six weeks after car owner Rick Hendrick was critical of Chastain’s driving after Chastain’s actions wrecked Kyle Larson three times in a four-race span. Chastain’s car owner, Justin Marks, talked to Chastain about his driving afterward. Chastain’s results had declined since, leading to questions of if a less aggressive Chastain was not as good of a driver.

MORE: Race results, driver points

MORE: Ryan Blaney upset hit hit area not protected by SAFER barrier

MORE: What drivers said after the race

Chastain showed his mettle Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway, snapping a 42-race winless streak. Chastain’s last victory came in April 2022 at Talladega.

Martin Truex Jr. finished second. Denny Hamlin placed third. Hamlin was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott (fourth), Kyle Larson (fifth) and William Byron (sixth).

“Just needed to get the lead,” Truex told NBC Sports. “Once we lost it, I probably made a bad move taking the bottom on a restart. Just too loose in the long runs. I could hang with whoever was leading. Just could never get off the corner good enough to get a move.”

Chastain started on the pole and led a race-high 99 laps Sunday night. He is the 11th different winner in 17 races this season.

The series heads to Chicago on July 2 for the inaugural Cup race on the city’s streets.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Tyler Reddick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Erik Jones finished eighth, scoring his first top 10 since Talladega in April. ... Chase Elliott’s fourth-place finish is his fourth top 10 in his last five starts. ... Kyle Larson’s fifth-place finish gives him top fives in all three Nashville starts. ... William Byron’s sixth-place finish is his seventh top 10 in the last eight races.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Ryan Blaney was collected in a crash and slammed head-on into a concrete barrier. He walked out of the infield care center and said it was the hardest hit of his career. Blaney finished last.

NOTABLE: Josh Harris, future owner of the Washington Commanders NFL team and co-founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which purchased a minority stake in Joe Gibbs Racing this week, attended Sunday night’s race.

NEXT: The series runs the inaugural Chicago street race (5:30 p.m. ET, July 2 on NBC)

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