Ross Chastain doesn’t side very much with Denny Hamlin’s recent criticism regarding NASCAR’s leadership.
The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 1 driver has been very outspoken regarding the safety issues in the Nex Gen car. After seeing two drivers suffer concussion-like symptoms, Hamlin criticized NASCAR’s leadership and called for new leadership and even a full redesign of the Next Gen car. Here’s what he said:
“The car needs to be redesigned. It needs a full redesign. I mean, it can still be called Next Gen, but it needs to be redesigned. It needs to be redesigned everywhere — front, middle, rear, competition. The whole thing needs to be redesigned.
While Hamlin’s safety concerns have been echoed by a number of other drivers but it seems that his criticism of NASCAR’s leadership didn’t go well with all of them.
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The No. 1 Trackhouse Racing driver is of the opinion that pursuing safety is always the goal of NASCAR and it is never achieved fully because there are always improvements to make. However, he distanced himself from Hamlin’s criticism by saying that Hamlin is not the representative of all the drivers’ voice.
“I want to say they don’t speak for all of us on everything they say,” Chastain said. “I know that Denny says, ‘Look, these guys are just being quiet because they are happy to be here,’ but we have our own thoughts too. I know I do. And everything he says isn’t just the mouthpiece for the entire garage.
“Sometimes saying less is more though and there’s a better way to do it than just doing that. A lot of talking and a lot of really, a lot of pinpointed efforts to move the safety front forward and we’ll see that coming soon. Safety never stops, man. Like we always can make these things safer. We can make this guardrail safer. We can make these racing shoes and your sneakers safer. The chase for that never stops.”
Chastain is right that pursuing safety is an endless effort and it should be like this. But seeing drivers not just crashing but making similar comments about the faults of the Next Gen car is an important issue for the present. And Hamlin coming out as one of the leaders of these voices is also important for both short and long term improvements in the safety of the drivers.