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Ryan Blaney Urges Daniel Suárez and Ross Chastain to ‘Mend Those Fences’

This comes on the heels of NASCAR fining Suarez for his post-race altercations at COTA that involved Chastain and Alex Bowman.      

By Andrew Woodin
Daniel Suarez (#99 TrackHouse Racing Worldwide Express Chevrolet) talks with teammate Ross Chastain (#1 TrackHouse Racing Moose Fraternity Chevrolet) during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Xfinity 500

Ryan Blaney wasn’t involved in Sunday’s post-race debacle at the Circuit of The Americas that saw Daniel Suárez fget into a confrontation with teammate Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman on pit road, but as a third generation NASCAR driver, Blaney’s more than aware that maintaining positive relationships — especially with teammates — is a critical element to competing successfully in the Cup Series.

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Though some relationships require a little more blunt impact to correctly “nail” them back into place, when it comes to the inner workings of teammate dynamics, those relationships demand a bit of a softer touch, a mindset he forged after developing relationships with Joey Logano and Austin Cindric, who both race with Blaney on Team Penske.   

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“Just because you’re trying to work together, and at the end of the day, everybody is gonna come together, no matter if you’re a teammate, worst enemies, best friends, you’re gonna get into it with everybody, intentional or not, and those things just happen,” revealed Blaney in a reporter teleconference Wednesday. “The teammate side, Joey [Logano] and I have had a couple run-ins over the years, me and Austin [Cindric], and you get over that stuff. You talk about it. You get over it, and you move on from it.”

During a double-overtime restart, Chastain initially bumped Bowman into Suárez which, in turn, triggered a cascade of impacts that first sent the seven-year veteran driver into 2017 Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. This then propelled Truex into a spin while damaging Suárez’s front-right tire. Jostled out of the top five cars where he had been in contention to take home a victory, a frustrated Suárez ultimately finished in 27th place at the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix while Bowman took third, and Chastain wound up in fourth.  

“Those things you have to do, I think, fairly quickly,” Blaney continued. “There is still probably something in the back of your head, but at the same time, you’re a team, and if you’ve got two teammates pissed off at each other, that doesn’t help the camaraderie of the whole organization.”

While time heals most wounds, driver animosity appears to be at an all-time high in the Cup Series, and this time around, the dust had barely cleared when NASCAR’s sanctioning body announced a $50,000 fine for Suárez. Officials reached their conclusion of giving Suárez a behavior penalty for his actions in Austin, Texas, by citing Section 4.4.B&D of NASCAR Member Conduct, which bans driver contact with another vehicle on pit road after a race.

That may tackle Suárez’s second and more egregious incident of the day, when he hit the rear bumper of Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro multiple times in pit road, but that leaves a lot of gray area on the matter between Suárez and Chastain. While that doesn’t seem directly positive, by not levying any additional penalties on Suárez for his Trackhouse-on-Trackhouse confrontation, that does open the door to push him and the Watermelon Man into having a proper sit-down with the goal of reaching a mutually understood and respectful resolution — something Blaney’s confident needs to happen and will get done in the near future.

“I’m sure those guys got over it, but like I said, I don’t know their business,” added Blaney. “It’s important to try to set things straight when you and a teammate have a run-in because you can’t be walking around the race shop and crew members, you can’t have them being mad at each other, too. It’s a weird situation between those guys. It’s like, ‘Oh, my driver is mad at the teammate driver. Should we be mad at each other, too?’ Then it’s a weird dynamic in the shop, so those things have to be dealt with quickly.”

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